I like Beheaded, and I enjoyed 2017’s muscular and punishing Beast Incarnate. I’m pleased to make the acquaintance of the bands new album, but what they have produced here is an unexpected treat.
One of the first things I notice about Only Death Can Save You is the vocals; they are less guttural, more expressive, and generally more dynamic. Initially I missed the deeper growls, but only for about 30 seconds or so. This new approach is far more individual and lends the music an increased sense of energy and vibrant impact. Deeper roars still appear, but it’s mostly more of a shouted affair. If I was reading this I might be sceptical, but trust me, it works.
The music itself has become a bit more dynamic too, with more variety of brutality and more melodic and even atmospheric components, albeit in macabre, grim ways. The band’s core is as solid and dependable as ever; this is not innovating or genre-bending death metal, but it is brutal, savage, fast, and heavy. Wrapped around this, however, is clearly a band who want to really enjoy their own music, and obviously feel passionate about their songs. It’s a joy to hear.
Beheaded have really stepped up on this album, and their songwriting has noticeably taken that step to the next level.
Oh, there are some absolutely killer riffs here too.
Yep, this is standard-issue death metal, savage and nasty, but Only Death Can Save You also offers something more, something quite rare in death metal circles – intensity and aggression mixed with expressive delivery and energetic depth. Although saying that Beheaded have reinvented themselves is definitely taking things too far, what they have done is revitalised and refreshed themselves, and in the process created a very enjoyable feast of brutality..