Genre: Death Metal
Country: Malta
Label: Unique Leader Records
Year: 2017

When thinking of bands originating from the small island of Malta, it’s unarguably true that Beheaded will be the first to come to mind, as they have been holding on their shoulders the scene of their country for a long time now (one could say that Abysmal Torment are also somehow popular in the area of death metal). The group has been dealing with the brutal death metal formula for twenty five years now and despite having a limited number of releases, all of them are at least pleasant to listen to.

Five years have passed since the release of their previous album “Never to Dawn”, and “Ominous Bloodline” was seven years before that. These long spaces in between albums (for any reason) make the anticipation of a new Beheaded album really anxious and exciting at the same time, as happened with me and their latest “Beast Incarnate” when I first heard about it. It turns out it pays off well for the wait and time, because it is by all means great in everything.

Since “Never to Dawn”, Beheaded have cleaned their production a lot and the new album has clear and powerful sound, preferable to me compared to the previous recordings. The instrumentation is simply crushing, generously throwing amazing death metal lines again and again in every track. The band has walked away from the brutal death metal territory and takes a more modern death metal approach to their music, but in a completely good way.

“Beast Incarnate” opens with the self-titled track and immediately hooks the listener with it’s dominating compositional strength. The vocals are really good, the guitar lines consist of kick ass riffs and plenty of soloing, while the drums are up to the point, complex and satisfactory. The same mood is kept for the first four tracks and already you know how good of a death metal album this is.

By song five, “The Black Death” might catch you in surprise with is sample introduction and quite slower pace, with the band playing in an almost doom / death manner. The track lasts eight minutes, it’s the longest in the album and I think the longer the band has ever recorded as well, making it something they haven’t tried before in the past. Notable is also the length the last track “Punishment of the Grave”, which reaches almost seven minutes in length but it’s generally faster, and closes with a two minute, beautiful guitar solo play. A great way to end such a record.

Above all a death metal album must be heavy and aggressive, and “Beast Incarnate” has high portions of both these elements. It has a clear sound and excellent musicianship, it stands well for itself and it might grow to be my personal favorite album by this band. If I were to put them in the same style as other bands, I would say they vaguely fit along with stuff like Dyscarnate or late Dying Fetus material. Anyway, 2017 started nice.

4,5/6