Review ·

When a tour bus carrying Polish death-metallers Decapitated crashed back in October 2007, killing drummer Witold “Vitek” Kieltyka, it indefinitely halted the steady ascent of a band that was on its way toward a creative breakthrough, if not greatness. Over the course of four increasingly progressive albums, Decapitated grew from a quartet of precocious Vader acolytes to a band capable of connecting tired tech-metal reference points with a fresh sense of groove.

 

The crux of Human’s Dust is a 2002 live set from Krakow, shot on tour with Vader and Krisiun eight months after the release of Decapitated’s second album, Nihility. The recording is clear and the footage balanced between stage and crowd, revealing a band far beyond its years in terms of musicianship (Vitek was only 18 at the time) and a headbangophilic audience that recognized it.

 

At this point Decapitated relied on laser precision and skimped on stage presence -- in between growling sessions, vocalist Sauron just sorta stands there practicing his death-metal persona, doing his best to look pissed. Even so, the jump-cut crazy video editing goes way overboard in trying to inject excitement to a live show that lacked it. There’s no excuse for cutting away during Vogg’s guitar solo on “Way to Salvation.”

 

The members of Decapitated seem less tentative during three bonus songs, recorded at the Katowice stop of Ozzfest in 2002, and even less so throughout a segment recorded in 2004 at the Katowice Metalmania festival. Here, for the first time on Human’s Dust, Decapitated’s live show assumes the same visceral power of its studio albums. In a pre-show interview included on the DVD, bassist Martin explains that Decapitated wrote their 2004 album, The Negation, with the concert experience in mind. And he’s spot on -- the new tracks have an extra heft, especially with the addition of a second live guitarist. Fan-favorite “Spheres of Madness” gets a meaty facelift that wasn’t present on its incarnations from the two earlier concerts, and Vogg now has the room to solo creatively without having to hold down rhythm. Sauron has gained confidence even as he’s shorn his hair -- dude dominates the monitors and prowls the stage, even cracks a smile here and there.

 

In another interview recorded just after the 2002 Ozzfest performance, Metal Hammer’s Darek Switala asks Sauron what Decapitated’s fans could wish for them. His reply: “Just wish us not too many obstacles on our way so that we can keep on playing.” It’s an ominous answer given the misfortune that was to befall Decapitated five years later. Human’s Dust shows the band on an upward swing, and they just kept getting better and better since the period it covers. It’s a solid document of why Decapitated drew attention in the first place, and it encourages hope that Decapitated can put Vitek’s death behind them and fulfill their immense potential.

 

*** 

Band: http://www.decapitatedband.net

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/decapitated

Production Company: http://www.metalmind.com.pl

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