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Decapitated (band)

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Hellfest2017Decapitated 03.jpg
Decapitated at Hellfest in 2017
Background information
OriginKrosno, Poland
GenresTechnical death metal
Years active1996–2007, 2009–present
LabelsEarache, Nuclear Blast, Metal Mind, Riffs Factory, Mystic[1]
Associated actsVader, Lux Occulta, Masachist
MembersWacław Kiełtyka
Rafał Piotrowski
Hubert Więcek
Past membersWitold Kiełtyka
Marcin Rygiel
Wojciech Wąsowicz
Adrian Kowanek
Filip Hałucha
Kerim Lechner
Paweł Pasek
Michał Łysejko

Decapitated is a Polish death metal band formed in Krosno in 1996. The group comprises guitarist, founder and composer Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka, vocalist Rafał Piotrowski, drummer Michał Łysejko and bassist Hubert Więcek. Decapitated have gained recognition as one of the genre's most widely respected bands[2] and one of the finest exponents of technical death metal. The band earned an international fan base in the underground music community,[3] and became an innovating act in the modern death metal genre.[4]

Vogg and his younger brother, drummer Witold "Vitek" Kiełtyka, founded Decapitated along with vocalist Wojciech "Sauron" Wąsowicz in their mid-teens, joined by bassist Marcin "Martin" Rygiel a year later. After releasing two demos, the band signed with Wicked World (subsidiary of Earache Records) and, in 2000, released their debut album, Winds of Creation. In 2002 and 2004 the band released the albums Nihility and The Negation, respectively. The band's ambitious fourth album, Organic Hallucinosis, was released in 2006 with a new vocalist, Adrian "Covan" Kowanek.

In late 2007, the band was involved in an automobile accident. Vitek died at the age of 23 on November 2, 2007 of the injuries he suffered from the accident and Covan survived, but he slipped into a coma as a result. After a period of disbandment, Vogg reformed Decapitated and in 2011 released the fifth album, Carnival Is Forever. The sixth, Blood Mantra, was released in 2014. The band's seventh album, Anticult, was released in July 2017 and Alternative Press described Decapitated as remaining one of "death metal's elite" bands.[5]


Winds of Creation, Nihility and The Negation (1996–2004)[edit]

Vitek in 2006. He was 15 years old during the recording sessions of Winds of Creation.

Decapitated was founded in Krosno, Poland in 1996, by guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka, who was 15 at the time, his brother drummer Witold "Vitek" Kiełtyka, who was 12 years old, and vocalist Wojciech "Sauron" Wąsowicz, who was 16. One year later, bassist Marcin "Martin" Rygiel, 13, joined the band. Decapitated released its first demo, Cemeterial Gardens, in 1997 and its second demo, The Eye of Horus, in 1998. After signing to Earache Records subsidiary Wicked World, the band released its debut album, Winds of Creation, which included a cover version of Slayer's "Mandatory Suicide", and was produced by Piotr Wiwczarek from the Polish band Vader,[6] in April 2000. The band toured with Vader in early 2001 in the United Kingdom.[7] Allmusic states that "Decapitated have quickly gained recognition as one of Poland's, and even Europe's, finest exponents of ultra-technical death metal."[3]

Decapitated's self-produced[8] second album, Nihility, which was released in February 2002,[9] fulfilled the high expectations that followed the well-received debut album.[10][11] Nihility also included a cover version of Napalm Death's "Suffer the Children". Decapitated was chosen to perform at the Polish Ozzfest event in late May and toured in North America and Europe in August.[6] Sławek and Wojtek Wiesławscy produced the band's next album, The Negation,[12] which was released in February 2004. The album received a positive response from the critics[13][14] and was followed by a tour in Europe and the United States throughout 2004.[15][16]

Organic Hallucinosis and hiatus (2005–2008)[edit]

In mid-2005, Sauron announced his withdrawal from Decapitated, stating: "It was not an easy decision. However, I could reconcile the welfare of the band with my personal plans, and hence quitting appeared to be the best solution not hampering the evolution of Decapitated.(...) Moreover, another reason that contributed to my decision have been some health complications."[17] The band chose Adrian "Covan" Kowanek, a previous member of Atrophia Red Sun, as his replacement and entered Hertz Studios in Białystok in August to record their ambitious fourth album Organic Hallucinosis, which was released the following February. According to Allmusic, the band's musical change of direction on this album was "likely to polarize longtime Decapitated fans".[18]

During the following tour in December 2005, Martin could not perform with the band due to military conscription issues and was shortly substituted by Richard Gulczynski, but joined again in February 2006. During the year, Decapitated toured with American bands Suffocation, Six Feet Under, Fear Factory, and others.[6][19][20] In June and July 2007, Decapitated played with Cephalic Carnage and others in the Summer Slaughter trek across the US.[21] Once the tour ended, Martin departed from Decapitated to live with his family and to move to California.[22]

On October 28, 2007, the remaining three band members were involved in an automobile accident that injured Vitek and Covan. Their tour bus collided with a truck carrying wood in Gomel, near the border from Russia to Belarus.[23][24] Vitek died on November 2, 2007 at the age of 23 in a Russian hospital from the injuries. Covan slipped into a coma and was later moved to Poland.[25][26] In 2008, Metal Mind Productions released the concert DVD Human's Dust.[27][28]

Reformation and Carnival Is Forever (2009–2013)[edit]

Guitarist Vogg in 2014

On March 8, 2009, after a period of disbandment, Vogg announced he was planning to continue the band and was searching for a new drummer and vocalist.[29][30] Covan was unable to continue with Decapitated due to the slow improvement of his condition.[31] In early 2009, Vogg participated on recording of the guitars for Vader's album Necropolis and continued with the band on a tour in support of the album, starting in September.[32]

In mid-2009 Vogg stated: "It has been the hardest thing for me to move on without Vitek by my side, but he would have wanted me to continue with the band. Finally, I have found some great musicians who can continue the work of Vitek and Covan."[31] "There's no sense in stopping this amazing thing we built up so many years ago together with Vitek, Sauron, Martin and Covan."[33]

On July 31, 2009, the Austrian drummer Kerim "Krimh" Lechner of Thorns of Ivy joined Decapitated.[34][35] On November 20, 2009, the new line-up was completed with the vocalist Rafał Piotrowski of the band Ketha and bassist Filip "Heinrich" Hałucha of Vesania and Masachist.[33][36] Decapitated continued with support of Nuclear Blast record label and Hard Impact Music management. The band toured in United Kingdom in February 2010 as well as in April and May in Australia, New Zealand and European festivals and the Summer Slaughter tour in United States in mid-2010.[31][37][38]

The band entered RG Studio in Gdańsk on February 9, to begin recording their fifth studio album entitled Carnival Is Forever. The album was produced by Vogg; while mixing and drums production was done by Swedish producer Daniel Bergstrand, who previously worked with Behemoth and Meshuggah among others.[39][40][41] Heinrich departed from Decapitated after the recording in order to concentrate on Vesania,[42] and Carnival Is Forever was released on July 12, 2011.[43]

On November 1, 2011, the band was on board LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16 when the crew were unable to extend the landing gear and were forced to land the aircraft on its belly. Everyone aboard the flight survived.[44] Decapitated went on a European tour with Meshuggah in mid-2012.[45] Lechner left the band in September 2012 and was replaced by former Vader drummer Paweł Jaroszewicz.[46] In late 2012, Decapitated played concerts in Nepal,[47] Japan,[48] and Thailand,[49] among others. In 2013, the band joined Lamb of God on a tour in North America.[50]

Blood Mantra and Anticult (2014–present)[edit]

Piotrowski in 2014

On March 13, 2014, the band announced the addition of drummer Michał Łysejko to its lineup, who had been touring with Decapitated since January 2014. Decapitated recorded Blood Mantra during March in Hertz Studio in Poland, and released the album in September.[51] During a tour in United States in October, the band was involved in serious van accident on the way to a show in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nobody was seriously injured and the band continued on tour.[52] Decapitated accompanied Soulfly on their 2015 We Sold Our Souls To Metal Tour.[53][54][55]

The album Anticult was released on July 7, 2017.[5] Vogg stated about the songwriting process: "[This] album is one that we created together as a band. Our drummer, Michał [Łysejko], [helped] a lot with the arrangements and the songs. He's like the co-author of the songs. It's like I used to do with Vitek [Witold Kiełtyka]."[5]

On September 9, 2017, while on tour in the United States, all four members of the band were arrested in Santa Ana, California for the alleged kidnapping and raping of a woman after their show in Spokane, Washington on August 31.[56] Subsequently, their current tour (which was to end on September 23) and all future touring plans were cancelled while the investigation was ongoing.[57] By December 12, 2017, three months after their arrest, the entirety of the band had been released on bail but required to remain in Washington for the remainder of their trial.[58] On January 5, 2018, the Spokane County deputy prosecutor dropped all charges against the band without prejudice, allowing them return to Poland, four months after they were arrested.[59][60] The band returned to activity in July with the release of a music video for the song "Kill The Cult" from their 2017 album.[61]

Musical style and critical reception[edit]

Decapitated's music is composed by the "mastermind" of the band, Vogg, who co-worked with Vitek while writing prior to his death.[62][63] Decapitated became known for its songwriting and technical instrumental approach at an extraordinarily young age and earned an international fan base in the underground music community.[3][7] In the review of Decapitated's debut album, Allmusic said "the band has a seemingly effortless understanding and command of ... their instruments and ... the songwriting is extremely solid; even in the first listen."[7] The characteristics of Nihility and Negation are "powerful, blastbeat-filled drumming, dissonant yet memorable guitar riffs, and inventive guitar solos" and substantially high production quality.[64] In the review of The Negation, Metal Hammer states that "Sauron is one of the most capable vocalists on the scene".[12] With Organic Halucinosis, Decapitated focused on non-traditional death metal aesthetics, more complex songwriting and grooves, and polyrhythmic approach; Covan contributed more versatile vocals.[18][65] A notable element of groove is present in Decapitated's death metal sound,[66][67] which has been often described as technical death metal.[68] Vogg cited Dimebag Darrell of Pantera as an "inspiration for making groovy riffs".[5]

Decapitated's releases are some of death metal's most significant albums of the early 21st century.[9][64] Winds of Creation was "responsible for re-igniting a stagnating death metal scene"[4][7][10] and Organic Hallucinosis proved to be substantially influential in the subsequent development of the genre.[4] According to Kerrang!, Decapitated have released "classic albums; (...) that have turned these youthful Poles into one of the genre's most widely respected bands.[2] Tomas Haake, the drummer of the Swedish band Meshuggah, commented the death of Vitek: "The metal community has lost one of the most talented and skillful drummers of our time! [...] Vitek was a true talent and drummer genius."[69] In 2017, Alternative Press described Decapitated as one of "death metal's elite" bands.[5]

Band members[edit]



Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
US Heat
Winds of Creation
  • Released: April 11, 2000
  • Label: Earache Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, CS, digital download
  • Released: February 19, 2002
  • Label: Earache Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
The Negation
  • Released: March 9, 2004
  • Label: Earache Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
Organic Hallucinosis
  • Released: February 7, 2006
  • Label: Earache Records
  • Formats: CD, 2 CD, DualDisc, LP, digital download
Carnival Is Forever
  • Released: July 12, 2011
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, digital download
Blood Mantra
  • Released: September 30, 2014
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, digital download
11 5
  • Released: July 7, 2017
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, digital download
4 2
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Title Album details
The First Damned
  • Released: November 20, 2000
  • Label: Metal Mind Productions
  • Formats: CD, CS


Title Album details
Cemeterial Gardens
  • Released: July 1997
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CS
The Eye of Horus
  • Released: November 1998
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CS

Split album[edit]

Title Album details Note
Polish Assault
  • Released: October 31, 2000
  • Label: Relapse Records
  • Formats: CD
  • split with Yattering, Damnable, and Lost Soul

Video album[edit]

Title Album details
Human's Dust
  • Released: June 9, 2008 (Europe), June 10, 2008 (United States)
  • Label: Metal Mind Productions
  • Formats: DVD


  1. ^ Between 2000–2004 Decapitated toured occasionally as quintet, with addition of second guitarist Jacek Hiro.


  1. ^ "Decapitated w Mystic Production!" (in Polish). Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Lawson, Dom (February 2006). "Heads Above The Rest" [Polish Destroyers Deliver The Death Metal Goods Again]. Kerrang!. Decapitated have already released three classic albums; superbly conceived and executed eruptions of technical brilliance and razor-sharp songwriting that have turned these youthful Poles into one of the genre's most widely respected bands. Remarkably, Organic Hallucinosis takes that knack for producing extreme music with integrity and bagfuls of hooks even closer to perfection
  3. ^ a b c Eduardo Rivadavia. "Decapitated Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Decapitated's 'Winds Of Creation', 'Organic Hallucinosis' Released On Vinyl For First Time - July 20, 2010,
  5. ^ a b c d e Aaron Lambert. Hear one of the most brutal cuts from Decapitated’s upcoming ‘Anticult’. Alternative Press. July 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Decapitated Biography". MusicMight. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d Matthias Sheaks. "Winds of Creation". AllMusic. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  8. ^ Everley, Dave (February 2002). "Pole Position" [Decapitated: Eastern Europeans make a bold bid for the death metal Crown]. Kerrang!.
  9. ^ a b Jason D. Taylor. "Nihility". AllMusic. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Lawson, Dom (March 2002). "Death Becomes Them". Kerrang!.
  11. ^ Ling, Dave (December 2002). "Slice And Dice". Metal Hammer.
  12. ^ a b Dome, Malcolm (February 2004). "The Negation review". Metal Hammer.
  13. ^ Lawson, Dom (March 2004). "Heads Will Roll" [Decapitated Decimate The Competition... Again]. Kerrang!.
  14. ^ Geist, Brandon (March 2004). "The Negation review". Revolver.
  15. ^ Decapitated, Rotting Christ, Thus Defiled To Tour The U.K. - Jan. 22, 2004,
  16. ^ Decapitated To Tour U.S. With Cannibal Corpse - Apr. 29, 2004,
  17. ^ Decapitated Part Ways With Singer, Announce Replacement - July 4, 2005,
  18. ^ a b Eduardo Rivadavia. "Organic Halucinosis". AllMusic. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  19. ^ Decapitated: Bassist Martin Rejoins The Fold - Feb. 20, 2006,
  20. ^ Decapitated Announce New Bassist - Jan. 9, 2006,
  21. ^ Cephalic Carnage Completes Work On New Video - May 16, 2007 Archived May 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine,
  22. ^ Former Decapitated Bassist: 'My Thoughts Are With The Guys And Their Families' - Oct. 30, 2007, Blabbermouth
  23. ^ Bonazelli, Andrew (September 2006). "Stop Loss". Kerrang!.
  24. ^ Update: Decapitated Vocalist, Drummer Injured In Road Crash - Oct. 30, 2007,
  25. ^ "Decapitated Singer Moved To Polish Hospital, Is In 'Stable' Condition - Nov. 6, 2007". Archived from the original on May 26, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  26. ^ "Decapitated Guitarist: 'We Are On Indefinite Hiatus For Now' - Aug. 12, 2008". Archived from the original on May 26, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  27. ^ Greg Pratt. "Human's Dust review". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  28. ^ Decapitated: First-Ever DVD Due In June, March 14, 2008; Blabbermouth
  29. ^ Decapitated Guitarist: 'We Are On Indefinite Hiatus For Now' - Aug. 12, 2008 Archived May 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,
  30. ^ "Decapitated's Vogg Seeking New Drummer, Singer - Mar. 9, 2009". Archived from the original on March 12, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  31. ^ a b c Decapitated Announces First Shows In Three Years - Oct. 20, 2009 Archived October 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,
  32. ^ "Vader: New Album Track Listing Revealed - Apr. 16, 2009". Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  33. ^ a b Decapitated: New Lineup Announced - Nov. 20, 2009, Blabbermouth
  34. ^ Decapitated: New Drummer Announced - July 30, 2009, Blabbermouth
  35. ^ New member in the band, Decapitated at MySpace
  36. ^ Exclusive rebirth UK tour, announce new members, Decapitated at MySpace
  37. ^ Decapitated, The Faceless, All Shall Perish Confirmed For Summer Slaughter Tour - Apr. 15, 2010, Blabbermouth
  38. ^ UK Tour 2010! Archived February 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Decapitated at MySpace
  39. ^ Decapitated To Enter Studio Next Month - Jan. 21, 2011,
  40. ^ Decapitated Recording New Album; Photos, Report Available - Feb. 14, 2011,
  41. ^ Eksperymenty Decapitated. Wkrótce nowy album!. January 21, 2011. (in Polish)
    Decapitated: Poważny cios. February 14, 2011. (in Polish)
    Decapitated w studiu: "Naprawdę świetnie". February 20, 2011. (in Polish)
    Decapitated jak czarne burzowe chmury. February 28, 2011. (in Polish)
    Decapitated: Przestrzeń, głębia i pszczoły szatana. March 14, 2011. (in Polish)
  42. ^ Decapitated podany ze July 4, 2011. (in Polish)
  43. ^ Decapitated: 'Carnival Is Forever' Track Listing Unveiled - May 13, 2011, Blabbermouth
  44. ^ Decapitated Survives Plane Crash Landing (Video) - Nov. 3, 2011,
  45. ^ MESHUGGAH And DECAPITATED Announce European Tour. June 22, 2012.
  46. ^ "Decapitated Drummer Quits". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  47. ^ "Decapitated Interviewed In Nepal (Video)". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  48. ^ "Decapitated Guitarist Interviewed By Sigh's Mirai Kawashima (Video)". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  49. ^ Decapitated - Spheres of Madness (Live) The Rock Pub, Bangkok 11th September 2012. NME.
  50. ^ Graham Hartmann. AMB OF GOD, DECAPITATED, TERROR + THE ACACIA STRAIN – 2013 MUST-SEE METAL CONCERTS. Loudwire. March 28, 2013.
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  52. ^ "DECAPITATED Involved In 'Serious' Van Accident". October 25, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  53. ^ "Decapitated 2015 North American Tour Schedule With Soulfly, Soilwork & Shattered Sun". Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  54. ^ "Soulfly: 'Archangel' Release Date Revealed; Tour With Soilwork, Decapitated Announced". May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  55. ^ "Soulfly Announces North American Tour Dates With Soilwork". May 8, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  56. ^ "DECAPITATED Members Arrested For Suspected Kidnapping In Spokane". September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  57. ^ "After Kidnapping Arrest, Polish Metal Band Decapitated Accused of Gang-Rape". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  58. ^ Glover, Jonathan (December 12, 2017). "Members of Polish death metal band Decapitated released from jail while awaiting Spokane rape trial". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  59. ^ Glover, Jonathan (January 5, 2018). "Spokane County drops rape charges against all members of Polish death metal band Decapitated". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  60. ^ "All Rape And Kidnapping Charges Against DECAPITATED Dropped". Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  61. ^ Video Premiere: DECAPITATED's 'Kill The Cult'. July 16, 2018.
  62. ^ Decapitated Interview, Metal Injection, April 15, 2008
  63. ^ Decapitated Guitarist: 'It Wasn't An Easy Decision To Continue The Band Without My Brother' - Nov. 21, 2009,
  64. ^ a b William York. "Negation". AllMusic. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  65. ^ Jill Mikkelson. "Organic Halucinosis". Exclaim!. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
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  67. ^ Land, Pippa (March 2004). "Nihility review". Metal Hammer.
  68. ^ Sharma, Amit (January 17, 2015). "Behemoth". Kerrang!. No. 1551. p. 51. Decapitated are a band that can do no wrong. The tech-death innovators are clearly enjoying the wind in their sails...
  69. ^ "Meshuggah's Haake: The Future Will Be A Sadder Place Without Vitek's Drumming - Nov. 4, 2007". Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
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  71. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
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  73. ^ "Soundscan Report: Tesla, Brides of Destruction, Kataklysm, Decapitated". Retrieved June 30, 2014.
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External links[edit]