Monday, December 8, 2014

Death Metal World Cup: Decapitated vs Vader

Blood Mantra
Tibi et Igni

Since I first heard Decapitated 15 years ago, the band has grown from teenagers with an overly obvious Vader fixation to beloved veterans...with an overly obvious Meshuggah fixation. As much as I want to chide them for wearing the influence so plainly on their sleeves this late into their career (as well as for crossing streams with this annoying “djent” trend), Blood Mantra is immensely enjoyable: Catchy, forward thinking, and not overly eager to overplay the band’s “tech” cred. If a band was ever needed to bridge the divide between Morbid Angel and Mesuggah/Tool/Pantera, Decapitated have filled the niche with aplomb.

Not ones for dramatic shifts in style between albums, Vader have been releasing the same album for decades, with minor tweaks along the way. Tibi et Igni sees them conjuring the spectre of 80’s metal, from the Hellhammer-quoting “Triumph of Death” to the shameless pomposity of “Hexenvessel” and “Into the Abyss”. But beyond that, it’s Vader through and through: No frills thrashing death metal, somehow managing to be more vicious in 2014 than it was in 1992.

THE MATCH UP: Part of the problem with Blood Mantra is how much it seems tailored to the Summer Slaughter/Hot Topic crowd. I guess it's only natural, since Decapitated have found success with a younger, trendier type of metalhead, that they'd write with that audience in mind; but it seems like a step down from the cerebellum-combusting albums they were writing a decade ago. Meanwhile, I don’t think Vader have ever been cool; but their consistency is something that I appreciate as I get older and more prone to disappointment.


Next match: Cannabis Corpse vs Cannibal Corpse