|This photo of Beheaded demo is taken from internet, without permission, but it was the only good quality photo of it, which I could find... Hope it is OK.|
Archives of the Dead part XII: Beheaded – Souldead (demo 1995)
Line up: David Cachia (bass, vocals), Chris Brincat (drums), David Bugeja (guitars), Marcel Scalpello (vocals), Tyson Fenech (guitars)
Recorded and mixed on 8 track ADAT in 1995, engineered by Robert Longo Galea, produced by Beheaded.
It is fun to see that nowadays we get quite many old death metal demos or albums re-released on CD / LP. It is even funnier that not necessarily all this reissued material actually deserves such special treatment, being utterly mediocre or weak back in the old days and remaining such also nowadays. I guess it is just a matter of trend, which the record labels create and which they think it is cool to release literally anything like that, as long as it is described as being recorded in the good old days! But let’s be fair - at the same time I must agree that some of these materials are extremely good, so it is cool that we can listen to them on new, official release. But along with so many old demos, EPs and albums that were recently exhumed, there are still some, which haven’t been reissued and still wait to be rediscovered and maybe also get a second life through such re-release. One of such demos, which I think truly deserve your attention and maybe also a re-release is this stuff here. I didn’t know it until I recently downloaded it on mp3, but man… I am quite impressed now! It’s Malta’s Beheaded debut material and their sole demo titled “Souldead” from 1995. And yeah, I’ve listened to this demo several times today and I really think that it just must be re-issued, so damn good it is… Well, probably just as good and rare as Beheaded’s first album “Perpetual Mockery”, which I think is also quite difficult to obtain nowadays.
The musical content of “Souldead” is quite is to describe… this is brutal as fuck, technical, gory death metal, but one which luckily avoids some things, which often make such records impossible for me to enjoy… I mean Beheaded is not over technical and over complicated, speaking of the song structures on this demo. It also isn’t going beyond the edge when the brutality means useless noise and piggy, too guttural vocals. And finally, the band may be violent and technical, but at the same time their demo contains some truly memorable material, some killer riffs and finally I must say that I also like the vocals… so, in the end this sounds just as I like within this brutal death metal niche, especially that the production is also really cool. So “Souldead” is kind of the unexpected surprises, this demo is a sudden, surprising blast… surprising, because how many great bands do you know from Malta? I only know this one. And to be honest I was familiar only with “Recounts of Disembodiment” album before listening to this demo, so my knowledge of Beheaded music is still rather small.
But this demo reminded me how awesome Beheaded is and that it may actually be about time to check what are they doing nowadays and listen to some other albums of theirs as well. It is just like with the Spanish Scent of Death, another killer technical brutal death metal band, which I reminded myself recently, when they released their new killer album. But speaking about “Souldead”… there are four songs on it and damn, what a solid effort it is. The musicianship is already pretty damn awesome for the debut recording; the songs are brutal and memorable, with many really great moments. They’re almost like some of the recent Sinister albums, kind of similar vibe and brutality and even the vocals sound a little bit like those from Aad Kloosterwaard hehe. Maybe this will give you a little of idea what Beheaded sounded like back in the mid 90’s (and it is interesting that I compare it to some of the newer albums from another old band hehe). Mind though that not entire demo is focusing on the brutal stuff, as there are also some moments of calmness, with intros or even that acoustic guitar in the finish of the whole demo makes great impression of something like calmness and quietness after brutal, inhuman massacre. And yeah… it all just sounds damn fine for me, really impressive effort and I feel slightly disappointed that I didn’t hear it earlier and never had a chance to get the original cassette.
PS. Oh, just when I finished writing this review I found some news that both “Souldead” and “Perpetual Mockery” will be re-pressed (ha, I knew they’ll be!) by Pathos Productions on digipack CD. Well, it seems like they’re now on my shopping list for sure.
Final rate: 80/100