Thursday, January 17, 2013
Beheaded - Recounts of Disembodiment (2002)
The writing here is occasionally as harried and fast-paced as the prior EP, but here they've settled into a lot of 4x chug/tremolo riff setups that feel soddenly generic and uninteresting when there are such a vaster array of dynamics available to such skilled musicians as Beheaded obviously are. If the note progressions were at least ear catching or 'evil' sounding, that might be one thing, but most of the structure to this album reminds me of textbook Deicide blueprints being filtered through a Suffocation lens. The palm muted slam grooves are a dime a dozen, without ever configuring into something truly violent, and the interspersion of these against the faster material is all too predictable and staged to sound like yet another of countless worship bands. Granted, there are a few tunes among the ten here that raise the stakes due a few superior grooves or old school death metal spurts which sound immediately more menacing than any of the by-the-numbers; "Consecrated Absurdities", "Compelling Derangement" and "Fed Upon Odium" all have a few moments of shine amidst the surrounding dullness, but even these don't engage the imagination for very long. The squeals of the guitars are generally a nuisance, and as with Resurgence..., I found the blunt and percussive vocals to remain on the monotonous side, though arguably more diverse in pattern than they had been on the EP.
A few of the leads are interesting, and lyrics remain a strong point for the Maltese, but in truth when I take this particular album and compare it to something by Deeds of Flesh, Cryptopsy, or the earlier works of Australians Psycroptic, I feel like it's often too set into a particular, hollow framework without much by way of inspiring ideas. The production's alright, with a nice sense of crunch to the guitars that gives the strident grooves a feel not unlike Morbid Angel's breakdowns on Domination, or Suffocation's Pierced from Within. The bass has a bit of a bombastic pop to it that helps it register against the guitars, and all of the instruments and vocals are reasonably balanced here. It was Beheaded's best mix to its day, but that can only get you so far, because I can say without question that among the hundreds of riffs throughout the album, there isn't one that truly drags me under. It's the audio equivalent of watching a mundane slasher horror flick which is composed of predictable stabbing after stabbing, and in my opinion the nadir of what work they've yet released. Worthwhile only if you're one to get excited by anything brutal, mildly technical and with the appropriately sick cover art and logo.
Verdict: Indifference [5.75/10] (the predator will gradually gorge)