Review Summary: Creative and technical yet powerful and crushing; this is how deathcore should be done.
Beheading of a King were marred by tragedy with the death of lead vocalist, Mathieu Paquette, earlier this year. Quasar: Preserving Legacy
will indeed serve poignantly as a legacy to him, because with this EP Beheading of a King show their deathcore counterparts how the genre should be done. Of course, they employ all typical deathcore features – brutally intense riffs, guttural roars and low pitch breakdowns – but they make sure that there is plenty more for the listener to digest, mixing them wonderfully and making them one of the best bands in the genre. The EP opens with 33 second intro track “State”. Although its sci-fi sound adds little to the overall sound of the EP, it rounds the edges and helps give the EP a complete, packaged feel.
Vocally, Beheading of a King are never short of styles to keep the listener engrossed. As well as the lead vocalist’s roar, backing vocals give high pitched, piercing screams that give an added dimension to the music as well as creating a distinct difference between the low, grinding parts and the quick, driving parts; both as good as the other. The re-recording of “Bible Crumbles”, the only song featured on the band’s self titled debut EP to be re-released on Quasar, showcases this at its best. Mathieu’s fearsome vocals fit perfectly with the nature of the music.
Just as much attention is paid to the instruments. Technical, rhythmic riffs and spidery motifs are played throughout all their songs above the typical breakdown-style chugging, mixing the brutality with the imaginative perfectly. Little guitar and drum licks splashed all the way through, and a full on solo in “Off With Their Heads”, create an extra edge to the music without sounding as if they were just thrown in clumsily at the end of the writing process. All songs progress and change and it’s obvious that Beheading of a King thought out all their songs through to the end rather than lazily rehash riffs for 3-4 minutes.
The EP ends with the outro of Pandemonium. Tasty guitar licks and screamed gang vocals give a spine tingling, explosive and crushing ending to the entire record. In less than 20 minutes Quasar: Preserving Legacy
is over; never at once sounding tiresome or scrapped together. Even the lesser songs (“Off With Their Heads” and “Leader of the Suburbs”) don’t sound like filler at all.
The only true problem, yet a relatively large one, is the use of choppy and awkward sounding breakdowns. In some cases they can slam back into the flow of the music completely and almost make the entire song fall flat on its face, most notably in “Off With Their Heads”. Their generic use in the verses is otherwise more than countered by the textured melodies and rhythms of the other instruments.
Overall, Quasar: Preserving Legacy
should be a lesson to other, more generic deathcore bands about how they should be doing their music. Rather than copy their better known contemporaries in creating unmemorable and lazily put together breakdown songs, Beheading of a King’s deathcore is more creative, more interesting, more engrossing and just generally much, much better. This is a must-listen for anyone at least partial to the occasional deathcore or metalcore. Despite their loss, Beheading of a King still have the potential to become one of the leaders of their genre.
*Reclaim This Gold
+Creative and interesting
+Wonderful vocal diversity
+Mathieu Paquette’s vocals
+Lead guitar parts
+Every instrument is used to its maximum potential
-Choppy breakdowns can occasionally blemish the originality and power of a song