Decapitated Rise To Victory Right Where They Left Off, Sparking Metal Fists Of Joy On U.S. Soil With Their Cancer Culture Over North America

Even though European metal bands have been able to perform in the U.S. since 2021, after the pandemic closed borders worldwide, it still feels like Christmas morning when they arrive here in 2024. On Tuesday, April 16th, in Santa Ana, California, Poland’s Decapitated returned to begin their U.S. tour promoting their 2022 album, Cancer Culture. Supported by a great lineup, including Septicflesh, Kataklysm, and Allegaeon, Decapitated’s trek marked one of the most anticipated tours. As most fans are aware, the last time Decapitated played in the U.S., they were arrested at this exact Santa Ana Observatory venue after their performance. They were extradited to Spokane, WA, where they were accused of kidnapping and rape. However, the charges were dropped after spending 96 days in jail and almost a month outside the jail,” where they were “dealing with fear, unbelievable stress, depression, and even violence.” It was a difficult time, especially for their families. Ultimately, all kidnapping and rape charges were dropped, and social media played a significant role in rallying support for their proclaimed innocence, demonstrating that the truth has a way of coming to light. On this glorious tour kick-off night, Decapitated departed the stage after the show, only to be welcomed by freedom.
The Observatory is a good sized venue, but it is also intimate enough for a good view of the band all around. Starting off the show in the early evening around six-thirty, Colorado’s Allegaeon ransacked the stage with their heavy brand of technical melodic death metal. They kept the audience engaged during the thirty-minute set and carried a great stage presence throughout. With six studio albums under their belt, Allegaeon had plenty of good live material to choose from. Still, with their lengthy technically crafted solos, and only thirty minutes, they picked four songs off of three albums. They definitely saved the best for last with their dominant ending featuring “Of Beasts And Worms” off their latest album 2022 release titled DAMNUM. Their latest album seems heavier and more fluidly structured than some of their previous works.
After a short break, Kataklysm took the stage, and even though forty minutes on stage seemed too short for them, they came out raw and strong. Canada has some excellent death metal of the technical and melodic variety, and Kataklysm has always been a top tier in their technically melodic death metal achievements. Sometimes, it’s best for bands to just come out swinging, even if they left their armor at home. It proves they are crafty with the instruments, and not just for their costumes or decor. That was the purity of Kataklysm on this evening, and with the crowded stage containing four bands’ gear all night, they managed to pull off their set swimmingly. Starting off their set with the title track of their latest 2023 album release,Goliath panned well for them. They weighed a bit heavy on the new tunes and still threw in some older gems, such as “As I Slither” from their Serenity In Fire album. They got the crowd surfing and moshing, and all seemed right with the world.


Photo Credit: Chris Loomis

Next up is one of the best of the best heavy metal bands from Greece, Septicflesh. They have such a unique and distinct stylized symphonic death metal sound. Listening to this band’s entire discography live wouldn’t get boring, but on this tour, they got fifty minutes. Usually, this band is all armored up and looking pretty intimidating on stage. Since the space was limited, the vocalist was the primary one standing out with his shoulder armor. They riled up the crowd and got off ten songs, including favorites such as “The Vampire From Nazareth,” “Communion,” “Anubis,” and “Dark Art,” to name a few. These guys can do no wrong, and this night was no exception. One day, it might be great to have a show featuring all of Greece’s heavy metal bands.
Septicflesh paired great with Decapitated this evening, and not many bands can follow Septicflesh with success. Decapitated did just fine with this task and played the last hour full of joy to be back in Santa Ana without a jail sentence awaiting. As Septicflesh kept yelling “America” to the audience, Decapitated yelled “Santaana,” and the crowd cheered on. Starting Decapitated’s set, they, too, chose the title track off their most recent album, Cancer Culture. Time really flies because it’s been seven years since they touched American soil. It was all around such a peaceful show because everyone was just so happy to be back where they never thought they would be.


Photo Credit: Chris Loomis

Decapitated have been through a number of unfortunate tragedies throughout their career. From the loss of guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka’s younger brother and original drummer, Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka, from a tragic vehicle accident in November 2007, that also left former vocalist Adrian “Covan” Kowanek in a coma, who now suffers from cerebral hypoxia and remains paralyzed. Let’s not forget the group also survived a plane crash in 2011. Then, there were many back-and-forth lineup changes and the last nightmare of being wrongly accused of a crime in another country. So, it would be completely understood if they decided to throw in the towel or never come to America again. However, strong as an Ox, Decapitated stays the course and are determined to keep their loyalty to their fans with this perfect four-band U.S. tour supporting their Cancer Culture album. It’s always good when a vocalist says, ” Now, let’s go back to the old days.” For this meant they would play “Nine Steps” from their first studio album Winds Of Creation, and a couple of songs from Nihility. Vocalist Rafał “Rasta” Piotrowski was a total badass from his knee-length dreadlocks, to his perfect harsh pitch death vocals, to his stage banter that included a “fuck yeah” towards the end of the night. Of course the last song was “The Last Supper,” and they gave a very lengthy uniform bow and goodbye at the bitter end. They made it extra difficult for fans to leave, and this was a good thing. Definitely, do not miss this fantastic death metal line up and tour when they come to you. They will be at the 1720 Venue in Los Angeles on May 19th to finish off the tour. As always, stay metal and support all the metal you can get your hands on or ears into.


Photo Credit: Chris Loomis

All photos taken by Chris Loomis.