Beheaded formed back in 1991 and still are trying to explode our brains with their brutal death metal sound and though many bands can’t stand that their members live in differenet countries, Beheaded are here to stay… Let’s see what the band had to say to Metal Invader.
Greetings and welcome to Metal Invader. Where do we find Beheaded these days?
FRANK- Hey and thanks for having us for this interview.
Members are now based in 3 different countries. David and Omar in Malta, Simone and Davide in Italy and myself in the UK but between today’s technology, ease of communication and cheaper flights we do manage to make things work and we’re very excited for the full release of the new album with this line up
You are definitely one of the most famous acts to come out of Malta. What is the current state of the metal scene in Malta?
FRANK-Lots of good things happening and things are on the up ! Bands are finally starting to get out there, playing foreign shows, festivals, touring which is great. Also plenty of festivals and events are happening in Malta, bands and people are taking initiative which is what you need to do when you are based on a small island rather than expecting for things to happen. This was a ‘lax’ attitude and approach many locals I feel have had for many years and I am glad that is changing, in life nobody hands you anything, self-entitlement brings you nothing, zero. If you want something you need to scratch and claw to get it. I’m happy to see people are doing that more now which can only bring good things.
Your new album “Beast Incarnate” will be unleashed on the 27th of January, 2017 through Unique Leader Records. Is the promotion going well so far?
FRANK-Happy with the way the 2 tracks ‘The Horror Breathes’ and ‘Beast Incarnate’ have been received so far. Beheaded is a band that has existed since 1991 that’s 25 years, we have changed, the world has changed and the musical landscape has changed completely. Musically as a band we are constantly evolving but staying grounded to our roots and sound which is Death Metal. Musically ‘Beast Incarnate’ is where the band should be right now and I strongly believe death metal connoisseurs understand that, appreciate and are ready to embrace the band’s current sound.
The two tracks available for listen so far are indeed crushing, is the whole album in the same pace and level?
FRANK-Both tracks we felt represent and captured the overall essence of the album at best. As for the other tracks of the album they are very much a similar vein but there is more depth, more layers, every song adds something unique, a slightly different flavor to the same recipe. I am very confident that anybody who liked the first two tracks will find the rest of the album to be a great listen.
Your last album “Never to Dawn” left me a very good impression in 2012, do you think you have surpassed yourselves with “Beast Incarnate”?
FRANK- Beast Incarnate is the natural next step in the sound of Beheaded from Never To Dawn. There is a lot of Never To Dawn in Beast Incarnate in that both are very guitar driven that is the inertia for Beheaded’s sound….With the addition of Davide Billia behind the drums and Simone Brigo both of whom are class musicians in this genre Beast Incarnate is more complete as an album, more effective, more hard hitting and more pummeling.
Your past albums could be described as a more straightforward type of brutal death metal, while the latest material brings in more distinct and heavy melodies. Did that change occur naturally or by choice?
OMAR – Well I cannot agree with this statement. If one had to give the ’95 Demo tape and the debut album ‘Perpetual Mockery’ a listen, one would immediately tell that there is a strong element of melody with keyboard passages and classical guitar included. The releases that followed, i.e. the Resurgence EP, the Recounts of Disembodiment and Ominous Bloodline albums we had gone for a less melodic approach, which ended up sounding more ‘brutal’. After a break from the band I came back and we started writing the Never to Dawn album. We just wrote the material that sounded right to us and left the creative process take its natural course. The result was a melodic and yet brutal album. The same happened with the new Beast Incarnate album in fact. I think with the new one, the true Beheaded sound has emerged even more.
What are some topics discussed in “Beast Incarnate” and why did you select this title for your album?
OMAR – This album has a loose concept associated to it. We wanted to delve in the ways different nations, cultures, religions etc perceive the place you go to after death that we have learned to term as hell. The connotations that are linked to it in the western world draw upon the idea of the devil and the suffering that the souls must endure through punishments. Other civilizations have different perceptions of this phenomenon. With Malta being a nation island situated between the European and African continents we feel this is very fitting to the music we write. Beast Incarnate gathers all these factors and projects them in the form of music we write.
The cover artwork is once again really nice, who designed it and what is it’s concept?
FRANK-The artwork was done by Jose Alegria Sabogal and we worked closely with him to visually bring out the album’s lyrics concept of Beast Incarnate. Jose did a fantastic job and nailed it down perfectly as we wanted specifically a hand drawn artwork which we feel represents the album better than a digital one would.
Is it easier for a death metal band to take it’s first steps today, than it was 20 years ago?
FRANK-It is easier to take the first steps today in that through the internet/social media things are easier to access, information is easier to obtain and contacts can be made at a click of a button. It is easier also logistically to organize yourself as a band but on the other hand it is more difficult to be noticed, survive and build a fan base purely because of the fact that since ‘taking the first steps’ is easier many do it but don’t take it much further… that leads to a lot of music being out there without a filter. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the mediocre and with so much easy to access music it is hard to pick and choose.
Do you focus on the compositional aspect of your albums more than the work done in the studio, production wise? What is more important for a record in your opinion?
OMAR – Well I believe that the writing element takes the most important seat here. One can invest a whole lot of time and polishing during the studio time, mixing and mastering stages, but if the music is uninspired and stale it will still be stale and uninspiring after the recording, mixing and mastering stages. However the production also plays its role to make a well written album sound pleasing to the ear. So to me, the actual writing is the most important thing, but one needs a good sound to back it.
You are a band busy with live shows and you have played in many big festivals. Is heavy touring taking time that could be spent on writing material?
OMAR We do try to play on festivals and reach new audiences when we can. As Frank said previously, we are now living in three different countries and everyone has his own personal commitments, being professional, academic, families etc. But we still find ways to play and create music. The touring in reality doesn’t take too much time. When we set ourselves to write the new material we always find the ways and means to do it.
Have you ever had any weird incidents while traveling for concerts that you would like to share?
OMAR – Ha! Where do I start because we had so many? But I will mention this weird encounter me and Dave bass had last summer. Since we’re flying in from different countries to meet up for the festivals and touring, logistics and flights dictated that me and Dave flew from Malta to Berlin. We had to lodge for a night in a hotel in the outskirts of the city. The hotel was situated in the woods close to the river and we arrived late there. To cut a long story short we went to look for a restaurant on foot where we could eat something. On the way to the supposedly opened restaurant we noted a carcass of a baby boar and foxes eating from it. A few meters ahead we heard loud growling coming out of the trees situated on the side of the road. We reached the restaurant, which was obviously closing and was not taking in any more customers. Hungry and on our way back -remember we were on foot – we saw a huge black boar the size of a car in the middle of the road. The same and only from where we had to pass. It was like thirty meters ahead of us. We froze. Luckily it decided to go off the road and sped off in the woods. Needless to say it was quite a moment for us – especially since we don’t have any wild animals of that sort in Malta.
Are there any leftover tracks from past years that die hard might want to listen to? If yes, are you thinking of releasing such a compilation?
FRANK- There are no complete songs which have been left un-recorded but we have been talking about the idea of selecting a number of tracks and record them with the current line up. It is still an idea but it might happen one day
Is “Beast Incarnate” a good way for someone to come in touch with Beheaded for the first time? Which album is your most essential?
OMAR – I think Beast Incarnate represents where the band is at this very moment. It would not be like this if we had not gone through the long journey the band has endured. The band is 25 years old this year – so we have changed as people, and everything around us has changed as well. Everything that has touched the band has knowingly or unknowingly had its share of influence on us and consequently on the music we produce. Anyone who listens to Beast Incarnate is not simply listening to Beheaded in this day. The material is a product the creative effort reflecting all the experiences we have endured through all these years.
If you wish, tell us of the five death metal albums you listened and enjoyed a lot the recent years.
OMAR – I usually go back to the early days of death metal and enjoy those albums a lot still. But I also enjoy the later material sometimes and some black metal. So my list would be Aeon- Aeons Black, Morbid Angel – Gateways to Annihilation, Deicide – Legion, Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane, MGLA – Exercises in Futility
Thank you for your time, say anything you like to your Greek fans!
OMAR –Thank you for sparing some space for us. We really appreciate it. Without people like you there would be no scene and the music scene would suffer greatly. I urge readers to check out Beast Incarnate – anyone who wants to place a preorder from us is most welcome. Thanks again and we hope to play in Greece again in the future.