Review Summary: Ominous Bloodline is a huge step for Beheaded, and is no doubt a representation that the band is finally headed in the right direction.
Malta is probably the last place on earth you'd expect to hear a quality brutal death metal band. Most bands of this genre tend to spawn in locations such as Texas, California, New York, and pretty much any big city in the United States. This tends to be where Brutal Death's biggest and best acts come from. But once in awhile a totally awesome band comes along from a totally random country out of nowhere that you've never heard of before. Beheaded is one of these bands, though they are a very impressive group of musicians who have just only started to shine in the scene.
Beheaded's first full length "Perpetual Mockery", slithered its way into the hands of very few metal heads across the globe, and was hardly heard by anyone, despite being a somewhat great first effort. After an EP in 2000, Beheaded finally released another full length entitled "Recounts of Disembodiment" in 2002. This album made a lot more of an impact in the scene, and showed great potential. People started to eagerly await Beheaded’s next offering. The wait was worth it.
Ominous Bloodline pretty much takes every other Beheaded album and multiplies the song quality by about 100. The first thing that caught my attention on the album is the very fast, tempo changing rhythm, as well as the blistering fast riffage ala Suffocation. There is a significant amount of technicality presented that should attract even the most elite of metal heads, and enough brutality that should satisfy any slow, chugging, breakdown seeker. The riffs on OB are very catchy and impressive. Unlike past efforts, Beheaded manages to write memorable songs that will tend to forcefully be stuck in your head for days on end. The drumming on the album is also worth praising. Chris Brincat has his best performance to date on the kit; he blasts at blazing speeds proficiently. Even when the slower, groovier parts set in, Brincat never lets up and clearly shows his diverse drumming skills throughout each track. The main difference that really stands out on this album from the rest of Beheadeds material is that the songwriting is just plain better.
The production on Ominous Bloodline might immediately turn off some listeners. The guitar tone pretty much sounds like a sewer. The vocals though good, are very low in the mix, and the bass is hard to hear at times. This might annoy some people out there, but it's easy to get past, you will eventually become comfortable with the sound of the album.
After listening to OB numerous times, it seems that Beheaded have matured quite a bit. They are now writing more refined and mature songs album after album. The future of this outfit from Malta is an exciting and promising one, and I can’t wait to see what they churn out next.