Definition of a band can be a double edged sword, known for their machine like accuracy from their infancy Decapitated have shared a rhythmic unity that most bands could only hope for. Limitless in their ability strangely it has pigeonholed the band into the niche of Technical Death Metal. Ever evolving owing to many different line up changes the band have indeed been out through their paces. Releasing their most recent effort Blood Mantra saw the band once again strive in a new direction. Adopting techniques implemented throughout their career the band decided to go for an all important groove approach. With a relentless touring schedule the band are among some of the hardest working in the business. Making a pit stop at London’s Electric Ballroom we were lucky enough to be able to speak to both Vogg and Rasta about the band, their current incarnation and the pioneering search of their sound soon to be exhibited when they enter the studio this December.
Today I have with me Vogg and Rasta!
Vogg and Rasta : Hello
Hello! How are you guys?
Vogg : Really good! Ok we always talk at the same time haha! Really good times, great tour! Camden Town, we have some nice food today, coffee and a great soundcheck!
So how has your year been so far?
Rasta : It started awesome! We just had a US tour, with At The Gates and some headlining shows which was great. That was a really crazy tour. Then straight after that one we had a UK tour so we are actually all the time playing this year. Two months busy! A lot of good shows.
You guys are all the time playing, all the time haha!
R : Its very intensive.
V: Yeah its really intense, we have still lots of shows coming up for this year. After this tour we have a short tour in Norway for shows and then we have ten more shows in Europe then fourteen shows in Eastern Europe, the Balkan tour. What else? We have Russian coming up! We come back after ten years to Russia, St Petersburg and Moscow, two shows. We will see what happens! Should be good, I’m sure it will be great. And a bunch of festivals for this year and then we come back and start to do new album. December we have the studio booked already. Its pretty tight but we have a bunch of ideas, I can’t wait!
Going back to Hertz Studio?
V : Not this time, we will do for the first time there is a new studio Custom 34 in Gdansk and we come back to our team which we recorded Carnival Is Forever, Arkadiusz “Malta” Malczewski as sound engineer and Daniel Bergstrand for doing drums and mixing the whole album. Which I am really looking forward to!
I can tell!
With all their experience and after a few years, I’m sure it will be great. I’m sure it will be a great result. We will record this album in three studios. We always record in one studio and mix in another studio the same like Hertz but this time we have three studios. One for drums, second for guitars and the third for vocals. We will send Mateie to Sweden to Daniel Bergstrand at Dugout Studio and he will mix it and then another studio for mastering in Sweden too. We will see what happens! I’m pretty sure it will be fantastic!
Fantastic not just good! You released Blood Mantra in 2014 was it?
Jesus it flies by doesn’t it! You decided to use seven strings on that album. What was the reason for that?
Because I was confused. I didn’t know, six strings? Seven strings? It was too many questions and it started to make me crazy to be honest. I tried to make it easy and I decided to just stay with seven strings for this album and concentrate not on changing tunings and changing the guitars just for the sound for riffs. Which just made everything easier for me and that was kind of a challenge! It was for the first time that seven string was used for a whole Decapitated album. I use seven string on Organic Hallucinosis and Carnival Is Forever but only in one or two songs. Now the whole album… We will see what happens for the next one! I didn’t say no for six strings because I have this brand new beautiful Ibanez Iceman from custom shop and it is sounding killer, we’ll see maybe we will do six and seven again for the new one.
What kind of themes are the album of Blood Mantra about, lyrically?
R : The Blood Mantra is a very title of one of the songs that tells the story of wars, gods and the shit that is happening in the world and actually this title is a little bit more wider because it is about the human. Blood is a symbol of humanity, a symbol of death and war and Mantra is something like a prayer. I wanted to put these two words together because for me human is the cause of every plague in this world. Every bad thing that happens, something that is really insane for us, we are the most important for us, like humanity. So this is a symbolical title and especially the song “Blood Mantra” tells the story of there is no gods and one god is created over the ashes of the past god. There is a lyric for example, find me a god with no dirty hands, the devils are built from the ashes and I will be your essence. Its more about being out of this shit.
Combining war and spirituality?
R : That humans cause everything. I wanted to have it to have something in common with all the lyrics, from Sauron and Covan I wanted to try the same topic but from a different point of view. Saurom’s lyrics were more philosophy something like this. I try to catch this topic from the otherside, how is the nature of the humanity. We are brutal, we are born to be destroyers, to devour the world but also we are spiritual.
Very interesting! This can kind of be for both of you but who are some of your influences?
V : If we talk about music about Metal music. For me it was always the same bands, Sepultura, Morbid Angel, Metallica, Pantera all classics, Slayer! Old school Death Metal, Florida Death Metal bands like this Cannibal Corpse…
V : Death of course! There is a lot of bands that I don’t remember right now but the most important bands that every Metalhead should listen to. I always say that all life around you inspires your music. Everything that you eat, everything that you hear, news from the TV, everything. Even the death of someone from your family or your friend. Its not only art inspiring you, not only music you listen to everything around you makes you as you. I know this answer is not strictly about strict names. For sure my main inspiration, the person who took me to the guitar and Death Metal is Trey Azagtoth, the Covenant album and together with Metallica and Pantera, Dimebag Darrell.
R : For me kind of the same, every Metalhead listens to the same bands like Morbid Angel of course there is Max Cavalera times in Sepultura. Beneath The Remains, Arise or old stuff is cool. I love the vocals there, I like to take the vocals from there but you know I listen to different genres of music. I find something interesting that can inspire you, for example I like jazz music or piano music, sometimes I listen to Hip Hop, sometimes I listen to some good Pop. Everything, you can take influence from every kind of music which is cool. The great production like mixing and mastering of the albums, you hear and you can learn.
From the different genres…
R : Led Zepplin you know, old school Black Sabbath..
Was that something you kind of had in mind, I know towards the end of Blood Mantra theres the song “Blindness” that goes into “Red Sun” and was that because you wanted to have more atmosphere in the record?
V : I would like to try something differernt this time you know? I have this riff and I think it is influenced a lot of Meshuggah. Because we were touring with those guys for three tours, the last tour three years. I know that Fredrik Thordendal they have inspired me a lot as a guitar player a lot for the last couple of years and its a little bit like those guys playing, maybe a little bit of Tool as well. All arrange the songs, I see two shows of Fields of The Nephilim band and that was like another inspiration for this sound. I realised that sound can be long and slower and still not boring and interesting. For the first time Rasta did vocals that he is a actually singing. Its not growling, its not screaming and for the first time Blood Mantra has singing vocals. “Red Sun” is just a kind of outro!
Sounds like the end of the world!
End of the world and end of the day as well! I see from my room, I see the red sun so red going down everyday so I said I don’t have a title for this song. Ok Red Sun and it fits!
In terms of new material, have you begun writing new material?
V : I started to write something before the US tour, we had a few months off because we had been forced to cancel the tour with Soulfly and Soilwork. We had a few months to play. I have to say I actually have a lot of ideas for the new songs, the basic riffs which new riffs came from one or two riffs. If you have one main riff you have the song and I have a few riffs I think we can start to work on but nothing finished of course but lots of ideas.
How did you come up with the name Decapitated?
That wasn’t me! It was Sauron the first singer for the band. We were best friends in school and we were sitting the same desk and one day he just came and said hey lets make a band! I have a name, Decapitated. Because he was the biggest Vader,
Ah Decapitated Saints!
“Decapitated Saints” is the first Vader song and he just liked the title and he liked the word. He came with the word, I didn’t care much these days but it was a good name for a Death Metal band. Decapitated! Why not?
That sounds pretty cool haha! In Decapitated’s music it has always been quite technical and very full on and brutal. I think that Blood Mantra is very technical but in a slightly different way if that makes sense. Its more like accessible but
V : Groovy!
Yes and when you look at it there are also a lot of technicalities happening. Was that something that you wanted to kind of do?
V : Well… I never think about that! When I create the riffs I’m just trying to deliver the best I can, the most interesting, the best sounding riffs. I have technique in my hand and my fingers for me it is easy to make a technical riff its not that hard to play fast and stuff like that but I never think that I want to do a technical riff or simple riff. This doesn’t matter, I listen to what I play and what I am trying to get the most interesting and good sounding riffs and the technique is only the tool to make something cool and thats it! Thats why I don’t like when I read about Decapitated its Technical Death Metal. I hate that.
R : If you do something that is not as Technical Death Metal, then people think oh those guys play Technical Death Metal,
V : Probably when they make the songs they trying to be technical and I’m not! I don’t give a fuck about that. I just make the songs.
R : When you take a look at Decapitated’s discography any album since the beginning is different. Nihility is different from Winds of Creation…
V : It would be like someone classifies Beethoven “Technical Classical Music…”
V : So bad! Why?! Technique is just a tool to make the music! Its nothing special to be technical. Its nothing special.
So you’re going to have a nice open mind for when you go into the studio?
R : I’m sure that album will be different. It’s still the same spirit of Decapitated, I was listening to Decapitated before I joined the band as a fan or whatever. The first four albums has the same spirit but its totally different. You compare Winds of Creation and Organic Hallucinosis, different band! But the same people playing, you feel the same feelings, the same groove. Which is good I think, there are bands that play like Iron Maiden. Every album is similar to be honest but they have this kind of flow for this. We are a little bit different, deliver something lets try to do this.
So this is for the both of you in the last six months to maybe a year, what has been something that you have listened to that you really kind of like?
V : Magwa.
R : Haha, Polish Black Metal band.
V : The music we listen to together in the bus when we are driving is a lot of Black Metal right now because our crew is from Behemoth. Magwa is actually a Polish band, you can transalte Fokk and they play Black Metal and its pretty cool. Its good to listen to listen when you are driving. Those guys are really cool, I don’t know we listen to another Polish band called Skat old school Thrash Metal satanic, but its really good music. What else? Yesterday I was listening to Chopin!
The Metalist + Vogg : Technical Classical Music haha!
V : Meshuggah, lots of stuff. Yesterday what was the name of this band? Bong?
Bongripper? Yeah they’re cool! Well thank you very much for the both of you for speaking with The Metalist today and that about wraps it up!
Vogg and Rasta : Thanks!