Formed in 1996, Polish death metal act Decapitated have made quite a name for themselves over the years and now we are able to hear what they sounded like back in the very beginning with the CD release of their first two demo tapes. For some strange reason the order has been reversed in that we get the seven songs from the 1998 demo ‘The Eye of Horus’ first, and then the five songs from the 1997 demo ‘Cemeterial Gardens’. This is not the first time this CD has been made available as Metal Mind released it in 2000, but now it has been reissued by Nuclear Blast who have released it in multiple formats with new artwork. Guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka has been the one constant throughout, and he is very proud that this reissue has not been remastered or remixed and are exactly the same recordings they originally released on cassette. If that is indeed the case, I am mightily impressed as one would think this is a modern release and not a group of teenagers trying to capture their sound for the first time. True, the snare drum sound is somewhat basic, but that is all.
Their debut album, ‘Winds of Creation’, was released through Earache Records imprint Wicked World in 2000, and of the 9 songs, 7 originally featured in the initial two demo tapes. Something else which should be mentioned is that singer Sauron was the oldest member of the band, yet he was only 17 at the time of the second demo tape, while drummer Vitek was just 14! This never sounds like a group of teenagers, but instead comes across as a very polished outfit indeed. So much so that to me this feels much more like a cohesive release as opposed to a collection of songs from an unsigned band, which is what it is. This certainly shows great promise, and it is no surprise at all at the impact they have had on the scene, and some 25 years on from their first demo they are still recording and producing great music.
8/10 Kev Rowland