Album Review: Decapitated’s Anticult

  • Axl Rosenberg

Don’t let Anticult‘s cover art and title fool you: Decapitated may not think very highly of Christianity, but they’re no atheists. On this, their seventh album, Poland’s most annihilative export demonstrate that there is, in fact, a deity they worship… and that deity’s name is Dimebag.

Not that it’s ever been a secret how much Decapitated’s founding guitarist/general mastermind, Vogg, loves Pantera — just listen to the title track from the band’s last album, Blood Mantra — but he really leans into his Dime-worship on Anticult. Groove is no longer an occasional visitor at Decap’s house; it has its own room now.

This is, in no way, a bad thing. As I’ve been saying a lot recently, a little bit of change can go a long way. And Vogg and company excel at introducing moments of head-bouncing mid-paced elasticity into the neck-breaking, angular death metal for which they’re known (“Impulse,” “One-Eyed Nation”), or, sometimes, vice versa (“Deathvaluation,” “Anger Line”). Furthermore, every song on the album is just friggin’ catchy AF — I don’t know that the band has ever written anything as infectious as “Earth Scar” or the sludgey, mostly-instrumental album closer “Amen” before — but every song on the album is also just friggin’ brutal AF. Anticult is the perfect mix of hooks and heaviness.

And with eight tracks in a little under forty minutes, it’s also the perfect length, which doesn’t hurt it any. Decapitated have always understood the principle of “Leave ’em wanting more,” but Anticult‘s listenability makes it especially well-suited to repeat listens (you’re gonna have all the songs stuck in your head anyway).

Too often in metal, we have to tell friends, “If you like [Insert Band Name Here], you will like their new album, and if you don’t, you won’t.” Anticult is the rare metal album that actually might win over fans who previously did not appreciate Decapitated’s talents… and it will do so without alienating longtime Decap admirers. Don’t deprive yourself.

Decapitated‘s Anticult is out now on Nuclear Blast. You can stream the entire album below and purchase it here.

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