Decapitated (band)

Last updated

Hellfest2017Decapitated 03.jpg
Decapitated at Hellfest in 2017
Background information
Origin Krosno, Poland
Genres Technical death metal
Years active1996–2007, 2009–present
Labels Earache, Nuclear Blast, Metal Mind, Riffs Factory, Mystic [1]
Associated acts Vader, Lux Occulta, Masachist
Members Wacław Kiełtyka
Rafał Piotrowski
Hubert Więcek
Past members Witold 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, bassist Hubert Więcek and currently also session drummer James Stewart. 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]

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Krosno Place in Subcarpathian, Poland

Krosno is a town and county in Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Poland with 47,140 inhabitants, as of 30 June 2014.

Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka is a Polish musician and composer, best known as the guitarist of prominent death metal band Decapitated. Besides Decapitated, Wacław is the guitarist of Lux Occulta since 1998, as well as a former member of the Krakow group Sceptic. He also worked with the death metal band Vader. He is a graduate of musical school in the first and second degree, alongside having attended the Academy of Music in Kraków as an accordionist.


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.

Witold Kiełtyka Polish musician

Witold "Vitek" Kiełtyka was a Polish musician, best known as the drummer and percussionist for the technical death metal band Decapitated, and younger brother of the musician Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka. He had been with the band since its inception in 1996, when he was only twelve years old. He also worked with the death metal bands Dies Irae and Panzer X.

Earache Records is an independent record label, music publisher and management company founded by Digby Pearson, based in Nottingham, England with offices in London and New York. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing early grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994. The label roster has since diversified into more mainstream guitar music, working with bands such as Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke and The White Buffalo. The company also hosted the 'Earache Express' stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and will be hosting 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.

<i>Winds of Creation</i> 2000 studio album by Decapitated

Winds of Creation is the debut studio album by Polish death metal band Decapitated. It was released through Earache Records subsidiary Wicked World on 17 April 2000. The album was produced by Piotr Wiwczarek, from Polish death metal band Vader.

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]

<i>Carnival Is Forever</i> 2011 studio album by Decapitated

Carnival Is Forever is the fifth studio album by Polish death metal band Decapitated. It was released on July 12, 2011, via Nuclear Blast Records. Carnival Is Forever was produced by Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka with Daniel Bergstrand.

<i>Blood Mantra</i> 2014 studio album by Decapitated

Blood Mantra is the sixth studio album by Polish death metal band Decapitated. It was released on September 22, 2014 in Poland via Mystic Production and later in September via Nuclear Blast Records in other regions. Blood Mantra was produced by Wojtek and Sławek Wiesławscy. It is the band's first album to feature drummer Michał Łysejko and their only album to feature bassist Paweł Pasek. The song "The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation" was released as a single on August 8, 2014. Two days earlier, the single was released as digital stream on Nuclear Blast YouTube profile.

<i>Anticult</i> (album) 2017 studio album by Decapitated

Anticult is the seventh studio album by Polish death metal band Decapitated. It was released on July 7, 2017 by Nuclear Blast. It is the band's first album with bassist Hubert Więcek and their final album with drummer Michał Łysejko.


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

Vitek (pictured in 2006) was 15 years old during the recording sessions of Winds of Creation. Decapitated 06.jpg
Vitek (pictured in 2006) 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]

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Piotr Wiwczarek Polish musician

Piotr Paweł Wiwczarek, also known as Peter, is a Polish musician who is the vocalist and lead guitarist for the death metal band Vader, as the only constant member of the band since its inception. He has also collaborated with Kazimierz "Para" Paraszczuk on his tribute album, Bandid Rockin', and is the producer of several of Vader's releases. He is also the founder and guitarist of a side-project, named Panzer X.

Vader (band) Polish death metal band

Vader is a Polish death metal band from Olsztyn. Formed in 1983, the group was founded by then-bassist Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek and guitarist Zbigniew "Vika" Wróblewski. Vader went through several lineup changes over the years, with Wiwczarek as the only constant member. Since 2011, the band has comprised Wiwczarek on guitars and vocals, guitarist Marek "Spider" Pająk, bassist Tomasz "Hal" Halicki, and British drummer James Stewart.

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]

<i>Nihility</i> 2002 studio album by Decapitated

Nihility is the second studio album by Polish death metal band Decapitated. It was released on 19 February 2002 through Earache Records.

Napalm Death British grindcore band

Napalm Death are a British extreme metal band formed in Meriden, West Midlands, England, in 1981. While none of its original members remain in the group since December 1986, the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent of the band's career since 1992's Utopia Banished, although, from 1989 to 2004, Napalm Death were a five-piece band after they added Jesse Pintado as the replacement of one-time guitarist Bill Steer; following Pintado's departure, the band reverted to a four-piece rather than replace him.

Ozzfest is an annual festival tour of the United States and sometimes Europe featuring performances by many heavy metal and hard rock musical groups. It was founded by Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon Osbourne, both of whom also organise each yearly tour with their son Jack Osbourne. The Ozzfest tour has featured bands of a variety of genres within heavy metal and hard rock, including alternative metal, thrash metal, industrial metal, metalcore, hardcore punk, deathcore, nu metal, death metal, post-hardcore, gothic metal and black metal. Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath have played the tour several times over the years.

Organic Hallucinosis and hiatus (2005–2008)

Covan in 2006 Adrian Kowanek 2006.jpg
Covan in 2006

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]

Adrian Kowanek Polish singer

Adrian Kowanek, also known as Covan, is a Polish musician. He is the former lead vocalist of the death metal bands Atrophia Red Sun and Decapitated. He was also the touring vocalist for technical death metal band Sceptic.

Atrophia Red Sun was a death metal band from Kraków, Poland.

Białystok Place in Podlaskie, Poland

Białystok is the largest city in northeastern Poland and the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Białystok is the tenth-largest city in Poland, second in terms of population density, and thirteenth in area.

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)

Guitarist Vogg in 2014 Waclaw Kieltyka 12 September 2014.jpg
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)

Piotrowski in 2014 20140606 Gelsenkirchen RockHard 0221.jpg
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]

The band returned to activity in July 2018 with the release of a music video for the song "Kill The Cult" from their 2017 album. [56] In December 2018, the band announced departure of drummer Łysejko. [57]

Musical style and critical reception

Decapitated's music is written by the composer of the band, Vogg, who co-worked with Vitek while writing prior to his death. [58] [59] 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. [60] 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] [61] A notable element of groove is present in Decapitated's death metal sound, [62] [63] which has been often described as technical death metal. [64] 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] [60] 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." [65] In 2017, Alternative Press described Decapitated as one of "death metal's elite" bands. [5]

Band members


Decapitated (band)


Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsSales
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
  • Released: July 7, 2017
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


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


TitleAlbum 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

TitleAlbum detailsNote
Polish Assault
  • Released: October 31, 2000
  • Label: Relapse Records
  • Formats: CD
  • split with Yattering, Damnable, and Lost Soul

Video album

TitleAlbum 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.

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    Decapitated jak czarne burzowe chmury. February 28, 2011. (in Polish)
    Decapitated: Przestrzeń, głębia i pszczoły szatana. March 14, 2011. (in Polish)
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  50. Graham Hartmann. AMB OF GOD, DECAPITATED, TERROR + THE ACACIA STRAIN – 2013 MUST-SEE METAL CONCERTS. Loudwire. March 28, 2013.
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