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Headless Beast - Forced to Kill - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 19th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Independent

After having been honestly impressed by the recent album by this talented German band I went back and checked their previous one. “Forced to Kill” is more or less a safe bet in case you enjoyed “Phantom Fury” and while a certain development between the two is obvious the older release is as much fun as the 2019 one.

The crunchy heaviness of the rhythm guitar is pitched against the fantastic harmonies of the lead guitar lending the whole affair a very uplifting atmosphere. The guys have a great feeling for hooky riffs and catchy refrains making each song as much fun to listen to as the one before. As long as you are a fan of traditional metal you will not find any reason to complain.

The songwriting is top notch and the guys exactly knew where they wanted to go. The song structures are well defined following the traditional verse-chorus formula for the most part and the overall placement of the single tracks in the context of the album led to it being easily enjoyable. That being said Headless Beast have implemented a few details making their work stand out from the pack. Shorter and longer soloing parts working as bridge elements or trademark chords being used slightly varied in other sections give the whole record a very stringent character. Fused with a few power metal and hard rock elements the whole package is neat and tidy.

The drumming is straight-forward and while there are a lot of faster sections and a lot of details like fills or a few rhythm changes to highlight certain parts it never feels nervous or chaotic. The band has put a lot of emphasis on presenting stringent songs and a nicely flowing album. While the instrumentation is top notch personal egos have to take a back-seat with the songs as such being put front and center.

Singer Jürgen got a really pleasing and powerful voice. His delivery is top notch and he is able to highlight the softer parts as well as putting a lot of energy into the faster and heavier sections. I really like the mellow timbre of his voice and in my opinion he can stand his ground against some of the biggest names of the genre.

Compared to its successor the production might be just a tiny bit less punchy but the organic sound and the transparent mix makes more than up for it. Each instrument and detail can be easily heard. The cover artwork is as awesome and old school as the one from “Phantom Fury” so do yourself a favor by ordering both albums at once. No chance you are going to regret it.