Latest release: Carnival Is Forever (Nuclear Blast/Riot!)
Band site: www.decapitatedband.net

Ask almost any metal band about their latest release and they’ll throw any number of superlatives at you about how it’s “career-defining” or their best or heaviest record yet. Usually it means little and is just an opportunity to give fans the hard sell. However, given the Polish band’s pedigree and stunning back catalogue, when Decapitated guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka suggests their new album Carnival is Forever will be one of the most extreme metal albums of the year, well, you sit up and take notice.

“This album is different,” he says of the technical death metallers’ new offering, their first full-length in five years and produced by Vogg and Daniel Bergstrand. “It was another step for Decapitated, with a new lineup. I am the only person from the original lineup right now, so it makes it sound a little bit different. But if you listen to the album you can figure out it’s the same band… I’m the main composer of the band.

“I think metalheads will be happy about it; I’m very happy and excited about it. The production is excellent I think and there’s some more progressive stuff on this album too which is sounding great. It will be one of the most extreme metal albums of the year – so don’t be afraid,” he laughs.

The new incarnation of the band that Vogg speaks of was not one the axeman ever anticipated would be required. On October 28, 2007 the band members were involved in an automobile accident near the Russian/Belarus border. The incident killed 23-year-old drummer Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka (who died as a result of his injuries a few days later) and left vocalist Adrian “Covan” Kowanek in a critical condition. After a period of reflection, Vogg decided to continue flying the Decapitated flag. Hence Decapitated Mark II, which features Austria’s Kerim “Krimh” Lechner (drums), Rafał Piotrowski (vocals) and Filip “Heinrich” Hałucha (bass).

“I didn’t play for two years,” Vogg explains. “Then I started thinking about coming back. It took two or three months to find new members. It was very difficult to replace Vitek and Covan; it was an intense time. It was a fast process, but a very difficult one. It was a very hard decision, because I had played in this band since 1996 and I had played with Vitek for so long, and he was my brother. I never expected all that happened with the accident could happen. After the accident, I didn’t think I could come back with the same name and a new lineup. But over two years, time makes it better for me and I decided to continue the band. It’s good to have the band back on-stage and a new album about to be released.”

Vogg speaks in glowing terms of the band’s new(ish) members. “I’m really satisfied with it,” he enthuses. “The drummer, I found him on (their) YouTube channel; he played our song and was brilliant. He had what I was looking for as a musician. Our bass player is also very good and the new vocalist has such a powerful vocal. He was singing in a Polish band called Ketha, a prog-modern metal band. He did an audition and his voice was so powerful and good. I’m really satisfied; we already did more than 100 shows together and it’s very promising. We’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe and did the Summer Slaughter festival in America. I think with this lineup we can do a lot; the guys were so good in the studio. Kerim was helpful with the arrangements of the songs and he was so good with locking in with my guitar riffs.”

Vogg also offers an update on Covan – and unfortunately the outlook isn’t very bright. “Covan is not too good,” he says. “He’s in bad condition still. If somebody wants to help him, there is a website to check out at www.wakeupcovan.com . He is in really bad condition. He’s waiting for surgery, which is very, very expensive, so people can go there if they want to make a donation.

“The response (to help him) has been huge. There’s been a lot of benefit shows, and people have sent in a lot of money to help him. A lot of people have been so helpful, so many people who have supported him in so many ways.”