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Sunday Old School: Decapitated

Photo of Decapitated

Band Photo: Decapitated (?)

What were you up to as a teenager? For many of us, we were listening to music, dealing with school, day dreaming of a life to come and maybe playing in a band ourselves. The question is, how many of us in our teens got our bands signed? That's just what happened to a quartet of young lads in Poland back in the nineties, who went on to create a legacy of brutal and proficient death metal, going by the suitably grizzly name of, Decapitated.

Decapitated was formed in 1996 by vocalist vocalist Wojciech "Sauron" Wasowicz and brothers Waclaw "Vogg" and Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka on guitars and drums respectively at a time when Vitek was only 12 years old. A year later, they recruited bassist Marcin "Martin" Rygiel, who was the same age as Vitek. They recorded their first demo, "Cemeterial Gardens" that same year, followed in 1998 by a second recording, "The Eye of Horus," which gained the attention of several record labels, including Earache, who signed the group to their Wicked World subsidiary.

In 1999, the band entered Selani Studio in Olsztyn, at a time when the youngest member was only fifteen and the oldest was Sauron at 18, to work on their debut studio album, "Winds Of Creation," which was produced by Vader frontman Piotr Wiwczarek. While they may have been young, the record was received very well by death metal fans when it was released in 2000, particularly for how technical the music was, while their cover of the Slayer staple, "Mandatory Suicide" was also praised. They promoted the album by touring with Vader in the United Kingdom among other shows and quickly gained a large following for their blistering live shows.

They followed their debut with their sophomore studio album, "Nihility" in 2002, which again garnered a strong response from fans and cemented their place as one of the most exciting young death metal groups of the time. A special edition of the release included a cover of the Napalm Death track, "Suffer the Children" and their popularity continued to grow when they were invited to perform at the Polish edition of Ozzfest. in a touring cycle which also took them across Europe and over to North America for the first time.

Two years later, Decapitated released their third full length, "The Negation," which was produced by Slawek and Wojtek Wieslawski, with help from the band. It continued two trends, the first being the highly positive response from fans, with critics also praising the material for the most part and the second was including a cover as the closing track (at least for the special edition,) this time seeing Decapitated put their own spin on "Lunatic Of God's Creation" by Deicide. They hit the road once more to promote the album but in 2005, Sauron announced that he was leaving the bands for personal and health reasons.

Sauron was replaced by Adrian "Covan" Kowanek, a former member of Atrophia Red Sun and the quartet quickly returned to the studio to record their fourth album, "Organic Hallucinosis." It was a notable album for a number of reasons, the most obvious being their first with Covan, whose performance was received very well by critics and fans alike. The album also boasted artwork by Septicflesh frontman Spiros Antoniou and was their first not to include a cover in any release.

Everything seemed to be going well for Decapitated, with four acclaimed albums under their belts and tours with such veterans as Suffocation, Fear Factory and Six Feet under, as well as a slot on the 2007 Summer Slaughter tour, after which Marcin Rygiel quit to move to California. The rest of the band continued without him but on October 28th of that year, they were involved in a horrific road accident when their tour bus collided with a truck carrying wood in Gomel, Belarus, near the Russian border. They were rushed to a hospital in Russia, where Vitek tragically passed away as a result of his injuries on November 2nd. Covan meanwhile was left comatose, during which he suffered from a cardiac arrest and cerebral hypoxia due to a lack of oxygen and as a result, remains severely handicapped to this day.

The crash seemed to signal the end of the band, but in 2009, while working with Vader, Vogg revealed that was planning to resurrect the band, as it was what his brother would have wanted. He recruited an entirely new lineup which comprised of vocalist Rafal "Rasta" Piotrowski, bass player Filip "Heinrich" Halucha of Vesania and Austrian drummer Kerim "Krimh" Lechner and the new incarnation of Decapitated signed with Nuclear Blast Records before embarking on a tour of the United Kingdom before appearing at a number of summer festivals. Eventually the lineup recorded a new album, "Carnival Is Forever," which was released in July 2011 and spawned four music videos for the title track, "Homo Sum," "404" and "Pest."

While the new rhythm section was singled out as one of the main highlights of the album, it was to be their only release with this pairing as Heinrich left before the release of the record and was replaced by Konrad Rossa. The band were then involved in another perilous situation when they were on board LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16, during which the hydraulic fluid leaked shortly after take off, meaning the landing gear wasn't working by the time they reached Warsaw, resulting in a belly landing and miraculously, no fatalities. Ten months after this, Krimh left the group and eventually joined Septicflesh following an unsuccessful audition for Slipknot, while Decapitated continued their relationship with Vader by recruiting their former drummer Pawel Jaroszewicz, though he would be replaced in March 2013 by Michal Lysejko, shortly after Konrad Rossa had been changed with Pawel Pasek.

With a new rhythm section in tow, Decapitated were able to return to the studio and record their sixth album, "Blood Mantra," which, as was becoming the norm, earned strong praise from the metal public and publications following its release in September 2014. Only a month later, while on tour in the United States, Decapitated were involved in another road accident when their van was smashed in a collision, though thankfully, no one was badly injured this time and they were able to continue the tour.

Decapitated are an inspiring example of defying tragedy in pursuit of a dream. Despite their numerous accidents, paralysis and death, they are still here, displaying a technical death metal sound which has kept their place as one of Europe's most revered extreme metal bands for the past seventeen years, something which will no doubt remain unchanged when the group release their seventh album, "Anticult" on July 7th.

If you would like to donate to Adrian "Covan" Kowanek, you can send money to the following Paypal account: intech2@interia.pl

Decapitated - "Winds Of Creation"

Decapitated - "Spheres Of Madness"

Decapitated - "The Fury"

Decapitated - "Day 69"

Decapitated - "Homo Sum"

Decapitated - "Instinct"

Decapitated - "Never"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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1 Comment on "Sunday Old School: Decapitated"

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1. Paul L. writes:

Gomel is in fact in Belarus near russian border, not in russia.
Thanks for the article

# Jun 12, 2017 @ 2:20 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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