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Derivative, but hugely enjoyable. - 80%

Dannu, August 25th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1996, CD, Music for Nations

Dearly Beheaded appeared on a lot of my personal playlist back in the late 90s. The band are often thought of as being bigger than they actually were and it's easy to see why.

Temptation is the first album released by the band in 1996 and showcases a brand of groove metal which was incredibly popular at the time. The album is chock full of chunky and incredibly satisfying riffs, with all the members displaying a tightly knit ability to lock in with each other and it's a classic case of these guys know what to do with their instruments.

Probably the thing which really sells it though is the absolutely monstrous production by Colin Richardson. It's rare to find a CD so well produced, even these days, so to have something this sharp and this heavy back in 1996 was incredible. The guitar tone suits the bulldozer style riffs to and absolute tee, and the drum sound is equally punchy and thunderous.

The negatives come in the fact that it's all very derivative. These guys obviously had a hard on for Pantera and Down and they aren't subtle about it, nor is it as good. Listening to it today, there's a strong streak of nu-metal type rhythms in there which, to be fair, at the time was just the popular thing to be doing and so it went by largely unnoticed. However, it is there and it's hard not to hear without a little cringe. Thankfully it's more "groove" than "nu" throughout the CD. The vocals can leave a lot to be desired at times as well, with noticeably out of key melodies and snarls which don' quite get there. It's far from bad but certainly not the best.

There is an old saying that goes "You don't have to be original, you just have to do it well" and overall, Dearly Beheaded deliver an album which does it very well and is incredibly catchy while also being heavy as "f**k in the process. This, for me, adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.

It's easy to see why people thought this band were bigger than what they were, and why they were often called "The British Pantera". The sumptuous and massive production gives an air of "big band" levels and he album is an incredibly satisfying slab of chunky metal.

Listening with today's ears, it's easy to hear why the negative features of the album maybe held them back from achieving top tier status, and some of the "Korny" style riffage does sound dated. However, don't let that put you off checking out what is a polished, heavy and highly enjoyable release.

If only Metallica sounded this good in 2017.