They were just kids, really.
That’s kind of how we all remember the Decapaitated that put out ‘Winds Of Creation’.
A group of teenagers that from a Polish backwater who’d just put out an album good enough to rival their mentors in Vader.
But there was so much more to them, as future years would go on to show.
Three albums in, held in high esteem, you’d have thought that they might have settled into a cosy death metal groove – but the exact opposite was true with their true masterpiece, ‘Organic Hallucinosis’.
Because this really was the album where they pushed the boundaries.
What boundaries, you might ask?
Well, true. It’s not like there are keyboards in here, or jazz, or any genre hopping envelope pushing.
I think rather that the boundaries they pushed were those of groove, accessibility, crossover appeal and just damn playing hard.
It was the first album with their then new vocalist Covan. His style was different from the comparatively generic death metal vocal of his predecessor.
Right from the first few ferocious bars it was clear he was pursuing a style closer to Cryptopsy’s Mike DiSalvo or even – at a great stretch – The Haunted’s Peter Dolving or Marco Aro.
More in your face, in essence.
The Pantera Factor
Organic Hallucinosis had so, so much in it. But the key ingredients were so simple: power, speed, but most of all – above anything else – groove. Real groove.
Both ‘A Poem About An Old Prison’ and ‘Day 69’ seem to take the mechanical sharpness of the early Meshuggah era (as opposed to the loose and elastic later period) and force it into a death metal mould.
As such, ‘Destroy Erase Improve’ seems to loom large over those two tracks; but as though it were also mixed with Hate Eternal or Malevolent Creation.
Yet it has to be said, loudly, that side two of Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven’ cannot have not been an influence here.
Essential stuff like ‘Slaughtered’ or ‘Use My Third Arm’ simply had to be the foundation stone for which a lot of the material on this album was ground.
I’ve never read an interview with the band as to whether or not this is true or not. I dont know. But listening through it – can it really have been so far away?
‘A Poem’s absolute density and insistence is infectious, while the Trey / Morbid Angel influences at the start of ‘Day 69’ sound like you’ve known them all your life before that blast.
Then, those grooves. Those pounding, piston-like grooves. Granted this album was a year after the groove-defining ‘Catch 33’, but they still sound very, very fresh.
There they surface again in ‘Post(?) Organic’ – a track performed at a jittery level of technicality that’s quite astonishing. The sort of torque going on between those guitars and drums as they round hairpin riff bends and rhythmic chicanery is just outrageous.
And is that rival speaker guitar trade off over the blast beat not surely the inevitable outworking of Pantera’s ‘Domination’?
The riff that follows it is otherworldly – a Trey style tap and warble over complimentary double kick that just absolutely soars. And then… is that choppy riff near the close not pure ‘Primal Concrete Sledge’?
That one’s unarguable.
Then the punishing volcano blast of ‘Visual Delusion’ – a delight for the heaviest of death metal connoisseurs.
Ability And Passion
Sometimes the point of From The Vaults is to drag out albums that were criminally unerappreciated in their own era. Releases that didn’t get the look in they should have.
‘Organic Hallucinosis’ is a bit different: it was rightly and roundly hailed as totally brilliant. The critics got it right.
They did so because the answer was right in front of their noses and clear as day. This was a kind of death metal masterpiece.
Not in so much as it opened up the possibilities of the genre or anything, but just that it exemplified and revelled in that genre with such huge ability and passion.
I return to the theme of it being a gateway album of sorts.
Were there metallers that chanced upon this after years of more mainstream acts and found the gleam of the underground in it?
Well, I’ve never met any, I suppose. I’m only supposing that it’s true. But you’d have to think so, and for that alone they will have achieved much.
Ferocity And Invention
We all know the sad coda to this story.
Not even a year after its release the band would suffer the unutterable tragedy of loss, as not just one of their members, but indeed one of the two brothers in the band, was killed when their van was involved in an accident.
Not long out of their teens, touring on the strength of their detailed brilliance and musical dedication, a young talent would be so wrongly taken away: Vitek was killed and his band mate Covan left in a coma.
They have returned, and did well to do so. But we haven’t since had an album of quite this ferocity and invention from them.
I don’t doubt we will again, though, because they are a brilliant band.
So dive into this album for another spin, and remind yourself how creative and destructive it really is.
It is a simply excelling death metal outburst, putting to shame their far more established contemporaries.
– 30/04/16 ::: Earl Grey