This is a great band from Malta, which recorded a very brutal Ami-like Death Metal MCD called "Resurgence Of Oblivion". Perhaps somebody saw them on ttheir European tour with ANASARCA. I have to say that they also blew me live away. Let's see, what David have to say. (The interview was originally printed in the Necromaniac Fanzine #2!)
Hi David! How's the living in Malta?
Hi there - well, what can I say about living in Malta? It's pretty much normal, you wake up, go to work, rehearse, or hang out with your friends, get drunk occasionally and the other daily chores. Nothing in particular. We have an acceptable standard of living, and all in all it ain't so bad. Unluckily this island is also littered with Christian Catholic and political fanatics, which, in my opinion are the only bad qualities of Malta along with a huge lack of discipline in general.
I have to say, that BEHEADED is the first Maltese (death) metal band I heard till now. So, what's up in Malta? Any good bands, labels, zines...? I have heard about a zine called Dark Age...
Other interesting Maltese bands are Achiral, Archean Harmony, Lithomancy, Arachnid, Dismonorrhea, Norm Rejection, Slit and Forsaken. These bands cover a wide range of metal genres from death/black metal to doom and trendy new metal. They're all very cool bands so if you come across any of these names - check them out - it will be worth it. As for labels I do not know of any here in Malta. There were some cool fanzines some time ago like Dark Age for instance but it's quite a while now since I came across any local zines.
You also have a distribution called "Mockery Distribution". Which sort of music are you supporting?
Well Mockery Distribution was something our bassist and me started after coming back from the tour we did in 98. We traded many of our Perpetual Mockery CDs during this tour with guys who were selling CDs at shows. When we came back here in Malta we saw that we had enough titles to start a small distro and that's what we did. Obviously we only cover death metal and grind core - extreme music only. Things have slowed down a bit lately since we are very busy with the band and do not have enough time to dedicate to the distro; which was never our big thing anyway. Recently we also started selling Mighty Music releases as well and they're doing very good. Hope we can resume the work after we finish recording our new album.
You started the band in 1991 and there were many problems to find a steady line-up. Were the first rehearsals under the monicker of BEHEADED and what's also interesting about the beginning? You were also the first death metal Band from Malta...
Yes, that's right we were the very first Maltese death metal band and the start was very difficult for us since death metal was not so popular here at the time, circa 1989. Back then every one was into Metallica, Slayer, Kreator, Helloween and that kind of music so it was hard for us to find musicians willing to play death metal. The first rehearsals were performed without a real name. We spent quite some time without one but when the time came, after some long research, we decided Beheaded fitted the band's direction best and that was it.
In March 1995 you recorded the first demo called "Souldead". This demo was with keyboard-passages, which now disappeard. Are there other thing, that were different from the nowadays style?
Yes, a lot of things has changed since then. Besides getting rid of the keyboard passages, we have also dropped the melodic pieces and stepped to a definitely more brutal and aggressive approach in our song writing. We also have a very thick sound now as a whole compared to what it used to be in the past, and a much deeper voice since Lawrence replaced Marcel on vocals. In a few words we have left that European melodic kind of death metal and concentrated on a much more brutal genre in the US vein.
You had also an other guitarist on the demo called Tyson, who left the band some time after the demo. Why did he left the band and where did you find Omar?
Sometime after we recorded the demo tape we started to have some differences with Tyson regarding his musical input towards the band. He wanted to come up with something different and his ideas were not fitting the band's musical direction anymore. Also in a short time he had to return to Canada again with his parents and therefore it became evident that we had to go separate ways anyway.
Omar was the obvious choice for us since he was in one of the most promising death metal acts, along with Beheaded, at that time named Dusk. We asked him if he could fill the vacant place left by Tyson and he accepted right away. He was playing in Dusk and Beheaded for some time, until Dusk split some months later and he became a Beheaded full time member.
In 1996 you signed to Swedish X-Treme Records and recorded your debut "Perpetual Mockery", but the CD were delayed till June 1998. What happened? Do you think, that the delay were good for the band, cause you re-master the whole thing and got (perhaps) a better sound?
Well that was probably the most difficult time we had as a band. X-Treme was a label at it's early stages and as such was going through some serious financial problems putting all releases on hold. It was very frustrating for us and the other bands on X-Treme Records. On our side we also experienced some problems with the artwork and cover layout design. Time was passing and we could not come up with someone who could do the job. All these shortcomings added together resulted in a two year delay.
We would have prefered that the album came out as planned in 96 without being remastered, since 2 years waiting for the CD was a living hell for us. The idea of remastering the recording was the obvious thing to do, having all that time on our hands. It was something we did to try to take advantage of the delay.
In September the same year you had the chance to tour through the Czech Republic and there was also also a gig in Germany and Slovakia. Where did you play in Germany and how was it to be on the road with such bands as VADER, DYING FETUS, DERANGED and DEFACED CREATION?
The show we did in Germany was in a place in Zittau with Purgatory and Fleshless. It was a great show, we really enjoyed it. We only had the opportunity to be on the road with Vader since we opened for the other three bands in one occasion in Plzen, Czech Republic. Those bands were on a tour set up by Morbid Records and we were not involved in that tour. We were one of the opening bands along with Fleshless for the Plzen date. However we went to see Dying Fetus, Deranged and Defaced Creation in another show in Germany and we had a good time with those guys. As for VADER, well everyone knows they're one of the best Death Metal bands around and they're also cool guys to hang out with. Hope to meet all those bands again sometime in the future.
After the tour your vocalist Marcel left the band and Lawrence joined the band. I don't know the voice of your old singer, but I think it was a great change. He has a great voice!
Marcel's voice was much more varied. He used to do both growls and screams and he fitted our old stuff 100%. Since we started changing our musical direction he started to have some difficulties with the low pitched vocals and after returning from abroad he decided to leave the band since he could not handle it anymore. Luckily Wenzu was more than up to the job and he fits our new stuff perfectly.
After the tour you changed the style a bit. Were the band you were on tour with, something like influences to this? Especially DERANGED could be a main-influence?!
No, not really. One has to remember that Perpetual Mockery was actually recorded in 1996 and we toured in 1998 after the release of the CD. The songs we have written in between were already showing clear signs of a heavier approach in our songwriting. For instance one of these songs is, Paramnesic Dreams, a song that appears in our MCD. We did this track before we went on tour and you can tell that there's already a big difference compared to the material in our album.
You also left your former label. Didn't they do much for you and do you know how many copies you sold from the debut and how the reactions were?
It's not that they did not do much for us, after all they offered us our first record deal and released our debut CD - and we are still grateful for that. I think it's quite logical that they tried to the best they could but being a small label that was not enough. All I can say is that the first 1000 CDs were sold out in a few months and then others were printed, however I do not know how many albums X-Treme Records sold till now. The reactions were great. It received several positive reviews from many publications and we still get emails asking us where they can get the CD from.
You signed at the great Danish label Might Music. Do you know the bands from this label? Especially ANASARCA and PANZERCHRIST are great bands!
Anasarca and Panzerchrist are great bands along with Iniquity in my opinion. More new acts have signed to Mighty Music lately like Fleshtized, Solar Dawn and Nephasth and this year will see some great releases for sure. Michael and Bjarke have been involved in the scene for quite a long time now and this shows in what Mighty Music has been able to accomplish so far. When they offered us the opportunity to join their label we accepted immediately and we do not regret it.
In November 2000 your MCD "Resurgence..." finally got out and it's a real killer! Very tight, aggressive, some grooves and a devastating voice. Great! Also a great production! I hope you got good reactions and the work of Mighty Music is also good as I can say.
Thanks for your comments. Yes we are all very satisfied with the way it turned out. We did this recording in just three and a half days, mixing included!!! This recording was originally done for promotional intentions which we eventually produced as a promo CD and distributed around 80 labels worldwide. We got very positive answers and some cool offers but we decided to go for the one offered to us by Mighty Music. Also this MCD was not part of the original contract. It was something we agreed to do so that there would be a Beheaded release on the shleves until our full length comes out next November. The MCD was released and so far the reactions have been awesome. It has also served to see how things will work out with Mighty Music for our future releases and so far we cannot complain!
Are there some plans to go on European tour? I read something about a tour with ANASARCA in July!
Yes, finally! European Extermination Tour 2001 is the tour we are currently setting up with ANASARCA that will kick off at the Obscene Extreme Metal Fest in Trutnov, Czech Republic on the 6th and 7th July. After that there will be shows in Germany, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy. The tour will end in Germany on the 28th of July. For a full list of dates visit Beheaded's or Anasarca's web pages here: http://beheaded.dhs.org or www.anasarca.de
By the way, how's the live-situation in Malta? Some clubs you can play in?
It completely sucks. There's hardly any venues to play, no real organisers, in a few words it's fucked up big time. This is mildly compensated by the audience which is the only positive aspect of the Maltese scene, considering the island's size. Rock Café is the only pub which regularly gives Maltese bands like us the opportunity to perform live. It has an in-house PA system, friendly staff and a cool place to play in without a doubt but we could make good use of some other venues for sure.
Can you tell me more about your lyrics? There is no lyric-sheet in the CD, so...
Our lyrics describe very dark and fictional situations that outline the fragility of the human being especially from a psychological point of view. Many times the lyrics project scenarios that are quite unthinkable, insane and deranged but they also create an environment that fits the music a lot. Our next release will feature the lyrics, don't worry. The lyrics for the songs on the MCD will be posted soon on our web page.
You also wanted to go to studio this spring to record your second CD "Fed Upon Odium". Are the recordings ready or when will they be follow? Some infos about the new shit? It will be released in November, if I remember right?
We will be recording our new material towards the end of May. The musical direction continues where "Resurgence Of Oblivion" has left off: that is brutal, relentless and bone crushing death/grind that will definitely inflict some serious physical damage The full length CD will be released by Mighty Music next November. Completed tracks are "Horde of the Stolen Sun", "Compelling Derangement", "Fed Upon Odium", "Consecrated Absurdities", "Broken Thoughts of Righteousness", "Recounts of Disembodiment" and "Inherited Plague". Presently we are working on two final tracks that are as yet untitled. The album will tentatively be entitled Fed Upon Odium.
OK, that's it till now from my side, David. Thanks for the interview and hope to see you soon on road!
Thanks a lot for this mega interview and for your support - much appreciated. Hope to meet you on our tour with Anasarca this July, it will definitely rule!! Until then stay brutal!!!
c/o David Bugeja
Tarxien. PLA 14.