Arguably the most successful metal band hailing from the Mediterranean island, Beheaded has been a constant in producing barbaric rhythms. Although hindered with line-up changes, it didn’t stop the founding members from setting up their legacy, starting from modest steps to more ambitious pastures. We as Maltese have the tendency of waving the white flag even before launching our own enterprise, often blaming the lack of resources and exposure. Indeed, dedication and luck are two fixed coefficients that inter relate our objectives and success. In a career spanning over 25 years, Beheaded slowly departed the status of simply being an awesome local band to perhaps the more prestigious ‘’one of the best European metal acts of recent times’’
Beast Incarnate marks the 5th full length release of the band, and statistically will be noteworthy that it’s the first studio production that has international significance. After the departure of their previous tenured drummer, Beheaded opted for Davide Billia, a young and hungry Italian already making a name for himself within the European death metal scene. Performing in acts such as Septycal Gorge, Antropofagus and later on the much more acclaimed Hour of Penance, ‘’Brutal Dave’’ brought his prowess into the table, delivering an over the top involvement in once again another compelling album by the Maltesers.
Subject of debate in recent times was the ‘’different’’ style that current vocalist adopts in his repertoire, vastly different from his predecessors who perhaps opted for more guttural, gruesome and resonant techniques (say, Perpetual Mockery and Recounts of Disembodiment). Whilst he’s well known for more hardcore influenced intonations as proven in previous acts (Slit) , he proved to the band’s followers that both as a front man and performer, he truly was the best option and a solid investment for the band, being both progressive with the times whilst not departing from old school traits.
Beast Incarnate might be considered as a hit or miss for some fans, especially from those who are more into brutal and retro death metal compared to the fast paced and technically proficient current one. Those who are still craving for the Recounts era might think twice before accepting such material. To those who are not afraid to try different stuff and exploring concomitant styles, will definitely react positively. I happen to be more akin of the latter. In other words, if you found ‘’Never To Dawn’’ as a treat, that was just the beginning cause here comes a more devastating and egregious record, both track and production wise.
My previous experience with Never to Dawn happened to be incontestable. I found all tracks to be gratifying, my only concern was the overall sound quality, sometimes deviating my attention as I studied the message and journey that the tracks were delivering. So the sooner Beast Incarnate was announced, my first reaction was ‘’I’m pretty sure the tracks will be incredible, let just hope the sound is a little bit crisper and sharp. Happy to say that I got blown away by this album. The impressive advancement in sound engineering define a band’s record as more luminous and easy to the eye, without falling into the trap of sounding too digital.
From a production perspective, Beast Incarnate is so far their best release yet. Soul chilling and infernal throughout its course, the album consist of 8 delineated tracks, as strongly emphasized from the beginning with the title track itself and ‘’The Horror Breathes’’. Subjectively, your classic ‘’Eat, Sleep, Beheaded, Repeat’’ track from the entire album, listening to those tracks only once ain’t enough, drums always on point and disfigured at a point beyond recognition, in a good way that is.
As the album progresses , we find the 8 minute nefarious ballad that is ‘’The Black Death’’, brewing at a slower pace up until kicking up a notch midway through, not your classic Beheaded track but instigating perhaps a navigation to farther seas by the band.‘’Fid-Dlam Ta Dejjem’’ and Crossing the House of Knives are a continuation of previous explorations witnessed in Never To Dawn, akin to Hate Eternal-esque riffs, ever monstrous displayed by each member. Noteworthy to mention is the further adoption of Maltese lyrics as mentioned in the former track (previously noted in Never to Dawn’s Where Hours Etch Their Name)
Overall, a strong, vigorous and striving album. Another well-deserved footnote which help establishing the band as one of Malta’s finest treasures. No imperfections noted, wholly balanced and doesn’t fall in the same rut throughout its course. Bone crushing, depraved and neatly done.