Right after announcing Matt Alston as their new drummer, Machine Head has named death metal legend Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka of Decapitated as their new lead guitarist. Alston and Vogg will join the band on their upcoming world tour, “Burn My Eyes 25”. Watch video of Vogg jamming with Robb Flynn below! Continue reading
Spread across the three adjoining Academy venues in deepest, darkest Birmingham, the third annual HRH Metal indoor fest is well into its second day when I finally arrive (a long story involving illness and unforeseen hospitals), and gathering pace on the main stage with Nottingham stoner trio Witch Tripper. The band’s beer-fuelled, Black Sabbath inspired riffery capturing the attention of a respectably sized early evening audience.
Polish death metallers Decapitated have spent a good portion of their near 20 year existence touring the globe and introducing audiences to their sheer musical brutality. Being from a former Eastern European country, they have been appreciative to the fact that they have had opportunities to tour the world.
While supporting their 2011 release Carnival Is Forever, they ventured around the world and hit a variety of different countries many bands have either have not ventured into or found to have a much larger fan base than they originally thought they had.
Guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka spoke about their time in Nepal, where they played during their Asian leg of their tour. This tour happened prior to the earthquake that sadly ravaged the country in April 2015.
“Yeah we played in Nepal. We played in India. We had this Asian tour. We played in Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia…we played in Nepal. Nepal was the most unexpectable place that we could imagine to play in the past. We couldn’t imagine going to Nepal. We imagined huge mountains, animals walking on the street, total terrible traffic on the street, and everything totally different than in the world than in Europe or the US. It’s a totally different world. It’s a different culture, different religion, different people, but a totally great time. [It was a] totally great show. We played one show in Nepal in Katmandu. Stage was big. It was like 4000 people watching the show. It was a festival called Nep Fest. There were a couple of bands from around the world, mostly from metal in Asia. There was a band called Nerve Cell. The guys came from Dubai.”
“Well…great memories and we had opportunities to not just be there and play the festival. We met some really nice people there. They took us around the city and showed us some of the religious places. It’s the part of the world where they’re really into Buddhism. All of the things we see or things we hear some crazy stories about reading these things, we couldn’t believe it. I can’t wait to come back to this country and this part of the world. It’s something that’s really, really cool. The European people don’t have any idea. If someone were never there or see these countries…if you see this on TV or on the Discovery Channel, you cannot feel it 100 percent. You can’t see how different it is.”
They learned how heavy metal music has spread across the globe and fans can be found almost everywhere possible. Vogg talked about how the music that they have been playing has reached into some of the unlikeliest of places such as Nepal.
“What was surprising for us was there are so many metal fans – same as in the US or in Europe. We didn’t expect this in Nepal. There are so many metalheads, some of the bands have their own equipment and instruments, and they read and play, but not too many people know about it. They really want to play heavy metal in this part of the world.”
He also found how Decapitated’s technical death metal sound was a much bigger deal than they originally believed in Japan. Vogg was enamored by the cultural aspects of Japan, as well as their time supporting Fear Factory on that leg of the tour.
“I think Japanese fans and Japanese people are…their culture is about respect to perfection. Not just in a musical way, but in general, and in every kind of art and in life. I had a feeling that when we played in Tokyo or in Nagoya, those people really enjoy our show. There was a unique atmosphere going on [within] the show. I also have great memories of this place. We toured there with Fear Factory and we did three shows – Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.”
“The shows were great. The Tokyo show was the biggest one. We played in Quattro venue I think [Club Quattro] and it was a sold out show – [It was] a couple hundred people. Osaka and Nagoya were a bit smaller but still really cool. What I remember it was a really professional crew. We came to the venue and we got all of the equipment we asked for before the tour and it was already set up on the stage, ready to go.”
“Then after the show, the crew was taking the gear to the trucks and straight to the next city. So in the morning, when we take the train to the next city, and we got to the venue and everything was set up on the stage in the same settings as we set up the last night.”
“We only spent three or four days there. It was so cool. If they enjoy our music, I’m sure yes. I have to say we have a pretty big fan base in Japan. I hope to come back to this country.”
2016 will be the 20th anniversary of Polish technical death metallers Decapitated’s formation. The band was formed by guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka and his younger brother and drummer Witold “Vittek” Kieltyka, back when they were teenagers.
“I was 14 or 15 years old. My brother was 12,” said Vogg, recalling that time.
Looking back at the history of the band, he recalled forming the band with a then-16 years old vocalist Wojciech “Sauron” Wąsowicz and a then-13 years old bassist Marcin “Martin” Rygiel, and this lineup were featured on the band’s first three albums (2000’s Winds of Creation, 2002’s Nihility and 2004’s The Negation).
Recalling 20 years of the band and the obstacles he faced over the years made him realize how much he has accomplished and appreciate what he has done to help shape Polish technical death metal.
“This kind of question reminds me where I can from, who I am and how it was almost ten years ago when we just started. It was four kids trying to play as hard as we can, without any professional gear or anything, but with passion and heart. I never imagined that I would ever have the opportunity to do all of those things, to see all of those countries, meet all of those people, or play with Fear Factory or any of my heroes. No never,” he said.
“I think about this today. What we have right now is an opportunity to travel all over the world and make money doing music, to get the best equipment in the world and meet bands like Meshuggah and Lamb of God and doing tours together. Well that’s awesome.”
“If someone back in the day 20 years ago would have told me this, I would shit in my pants. I wouldn’t believe that. That’s [what’s] cool about doing what you love and trying to realize your dreams.”
He talked about his thoughts about what makes Polish death metal its own brand of brutality like no other. Vogg has his theories behind what makes it so heavy.
“I’m not sure 100 percent. That’s what I was thinking about today. Polish metal seems something special in the sound – bands like Vader, Behemoth, Decapitated or Hate, or some other bands. We have something similar. I don’t know.”
“Yes indeed it only was Vader back in the day when you had to cross the border to get outside of the country. Probably Vader showed the way how to do it for the other bands, or Behemoth before Decapitated.”
“For sure we were fans of Vader and we toured with them and learned from them a lot. [It was the] same with Behemoth, and actually for every band in this country. They were an example for younger bands from this country.”
“To answer the question [about why there are so many Polish bands], I mean the Polish mentality is like that. The people are pissed off all the time. If you asked Polish people ‘how are you?’ – they would answer ‘ummm…same shit. Nothing special going on.’ It’s not like they knew what you’re asking. It’s like asking ‘how are you?’’ Oh I’m great man! Awesome.’ “
He talks about the history of Poland, from its communist history times to its ultra religious rule within the country, and how that factor into how its metal can get so heavy. Now after the changes within the country, people are still letting their feelings out.
“In Poland it’s different. I don’t know why. We’re still in the second World War? We had the communism and the really shitty years in our history. We’re free since maybe 20 years now. So it’s not a long time. Maybe that’s why, and also Poland is a really religious country. Catholics rule in this country and you have to learn religion in school and bullshit like that. You have churches everywhere and on every corner. People are blindly into their religion and 90 percent of the people here are going to church every Sunday.”
“Maybe heavy metal came from the west and showed the new generation of people something different and something cool. Heavy metal music gives them some kind of freedom and different opportunity to a way of life. I’m really happy that I’m a metalhead and I took this kind of way, so my mind is more open from what I can see from the people around me. It’s going to change.”
“To come back to the question, I think when you listen to Vader or Behemoth or Decapitated, you can feel this aggressive energy and it’s against something. It sounds like you’re trying to fight with something – the system, with religion, with something that blocks your life and your freedom. It’s like fighting for your freedom. That’s why we’re pushing so much. That’s why we have such a nice metal match.”
Polish extreme metallers Decapitated were hailed as one of the rising stars to enlighten the world about what was brewing within their country’s metal scene. They released their sixth album Blood Mantra in September 2014, and continue to showcase their powerful brand of technical death metal to the world.
Founding member and guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka talked about creating Blood Mantra and the process he goes into crafting what goes onto each recording. Reaching album number six is a milestone for them, but he insists that thought process does not factor into the writing process.
“The main thing when I create a song, I don’t think about this type of stress, like someone is waiting for it and the tension. I think we have loyal fans and they know every new Decapitated album is different from what we did before. This one is different – different production, different atmosphere, different groove and it’s heavy as hell. I wrote it on seven string guitar only this time. We have a couple of songs which is the first time we played something like that. It’s kind of an experimental sound based on one riff and it takes almost six or seven minutes.”
“It’s not that hard to compose the music. Even if you have a contract with a huge label, there are some expectations. When we release it and people start to comment on it, there will always be many good comments and opinions, and I’m ready to hear some bad comments too. It’s normal and nothing new to me. So I don’t really care about it.”
“Of course I think about those things, but I still feel the freedom of when I compose the new riffs. I know I can play wherever I want. That’s the freedom of art. We’re not a pop band selling 20 to 25 million CDs or something like that. We’re an extreme metal band. We can play wherever we want. We have the freedom of creativity. It’s a cool feeling. Even if you know there are a lot of people who want to hear a new Decapitated album. I don’t feel too much stress about it. I just play what I love to play and I trust myself that it will be good.”
Keeping a consistent lineup had been an issue within Decapitated, especially since their tragic accident in 2007 that took the life of drummer and his brother Witold “Vitek” Kieltyka and severly injured vocalist Adrian “Covan” Kowanek, has their situation a bit strained at times. Vogg believes he has found the right personnel to continue the band and keeping it moving forward.
“Hell yes! I have to say that this lineup with Michał [Łysejko] on drums, Paweł [Pasek] on bass (and Rafał “Rasta” Piotrowski on vocals) – those guys have been in the band for almost two years. This is the best lineup we’ve had since 2010 since we’ve rebuilt the band after the accident.”
“I have such a good time with those two members. We really can play together. We can talk and understand [each other] in almost every way. We have such a great time together. We just go on tour and sit on a bus, sit on a plane, and go and play. We love to do it. I hope this lineup survives at least for the next couple of years. It’s the best thing to have the same lineup if it’s possible,” he said.
Even though it has been some time since the tragic accident that took the life of his brother, Vogg admits those factors did influence prior albums and even him accepting the loss.
“Those things that happened in the past come back sometimes. Of course it was the worst day in my life. It was the worst part of my life – the accident and the next couple of years. Right now I feel much better because everybody knows time makes you better.”
“For sure some things like that are happening to you, it will leave some scars into your head and into your heart. For sure it will influence your music and whatever you’re doing in life. It changes you as a human being, and your views of the world, life and how you interact with other people.”
“When I create music, I try not to think about those things. But for sure those things did change me and probably the music’s end, to create music with who I am. It touched a little bit of our creativity, as far as the atmosphere into the music and the riffs we play right now. Maybe that’s why the last record (2011’s Carnival Is Forever) was more aggressive and more fast. In the same way it was a reflection in the mood.”
“It’s hard to say how much those things influence you when you create something. But for sure it did influence. How exactly – I don’t know. I can just say I appreciate life now after what happened. It’s a big loss with Vittek passed away and Covan is sitting in his condition. We cannot do so much about that. We’re trying to do the best things within the band and keep the memory of Vittek and push things in the right direction by playing the best heavy metal music we can.”
With the release of Blood Mantra, Vogg issued a challenge to himself to create the heaviest yet the best written record he could create, and longtime fans got to the latest chapter of Decapitated.
“For sure this record took lots of time and energy to put into the creative process. I’m the main composer of every song and every instrument. This time I took this challenge to compose every note on the album, starting from drums, bass, guitar and vocal lines too. That’s because of the line up changes I was forced to create drums and everything,” said Vogg.
Already touring with such bands as Lamb of God, Meshuggah, and GWAR, and now an upcoming North American tour supporting Soulfly, Soilwork and Shattered Sun, they are ready to bring Polish technical death metal to new audiences and many who may have never experienced this style of music before.
“This album is kind of a new chapter, I think for the band. We are more mature as a band. We’ve taken more experience from tours with bands we were touring with over the past three years, on the Carnival Is Forever album. We’ve played with bands like Meshuggah, Children of Bodom, and Lamb of God. We’ve seen so many places on so many stages together with these experienced bands. Those musicians have been doing this for a long time.”
“Watching those guys all of the time makes you start thinking about those things. Talking with them and listening to what they’re trying to tell us, we learn so much from those guys. We put all of those experiences into our new songs. I think it’s the new step for Decapitated. It’s the new direction. The songs are different. This album is really surprising. You don’t know what to expect from each song coming up.”
“This album starts with dark riffs and then going into the blackest death metal atmosphere and really aggressive. Then the second side is a classic death metal sound, together with a grindcore atmosphere. Then we go into some more groovy parts on the next three songs. Then we come back to the fast riffs. It’s a lot of different things going on on this album. It’s possibly the best live album. The songs actually kick ass live. It’s the experience taken from those tours. We are better at making those songs good live than something we did before. We’ve been thinking about it to create stuff that we can take on the stage and play and sound great everywhere in the venue.”
“We are a metal band. We want to bring the heaviest riffs into the venue. The most beautiful thing about playing in a metal band is playing shows. That’s what we love the most. Not recording the records. Not sitting at home and creating new riffs. Not sitting in the bus. Not reading the news on the internet. The best thing is to go onto the stage. That’s the biggest motivation being in a metal band. To go on a stage, to go on tour, to be on stage, play music and deliver some great sounds that people can enjoy.”
“During the creative process, when we’re creating new riffs, we’re thinking about that. We are creating the things that after a couple of months, we will take these songs, play these riffs on the stage and we’re going straight in front of the people and they have to enjoy it. We have to have a great time and everything has to sound great. We’re thinking in this way right now.”