Monday, 11 May 2015

Headless Kross - 'Volumes' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Label: Black Bow Records, Burning World Records
Date Released: 1/4/15

Headless Kross is:

Derek | Bass & voice
Jonny | Drums
Tommy | Guitar

‘Volumes’ CD//DD//LP track listing

1). Rural Juror
2). Who is This Who is Coming
3). Even The Destroyed Things Have Been Destroyed


PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR YE SHALL BE DESTROYED! As soon as I saw the artwork I knew this album was going to be epic as the depiction of a giant treant/ent/dryad/forest monster crushing helpless villagers is a metaphor for how you too shall be crushed beneath the weight of Headless Kross' epic riffs. Incidentally, the artwork vaguely reminded me of a brighter hued Voivod cover and really drew me towards reviewing this one first. Consisting of three very long songs, including the epic twenty-two minute opener, ‘Volumes’ comes out the gate letting you know that their truly is only one appropriate volume for it to be listened to. And that volume IS VERY LOUD. ‘Volumes’ boasts a very well recorded sound complete with a truly stereo mashing guitar tone, pounding drums, and a nice rumbling bass sound.

On to the meat of the review! To open with a twenty-two minute song it must be epic, and so it is. Starting with a pulsing slow burn riff Headless Kross locks it down to draw you in before the floor falls out with intense heavy vocals and weird effects that swirl flavours of psychedelia around your head. Alternating between Sleep/Conan style heavy slow riffs and the aforementioned cool effects the rest of the song weaves a dark and strange tapestry of sound and the guitar freak-out solos in what I would tentatively call the bridge are pretty awesome. It's nice to hear a lead player really go for it on the solos by making them truly unique with effects saturation letting the underlying melodies swirl forward and back in the mix like hearing the song through a smoke hazed mirror. Closing the song with some guitar or perhaps synth oscillations that fade into the distance, this is a great start to the record.

The second track, ‘Who is This Who Is Coming’, starts with some very old school heavy panning on the instrumentals until the guitar kicks in heavy around the minute twenty mark. Setting a Lovecraftian atmosphere with a nice and clearly Sabbath inspired riff, Headless Kross cranks into high gear at the two minute mark into an unusually awesome verse riff. Reminding me a bit of the Atlanta act Zoroaster in tone on this one, the guitar has that muted highs rolled off a touch sound that Iommi was so fond of on his SG. The highlight of this song for me is the chuggy bridge section and the strategically placed guitar solos which hit at the right moments and are tastefully dark with just the right amount of shredding and bluesy slurs.

The final and shortest track, “Even the Destroyed Things Have Been Destroyed,” has that end of album descending riff feel throughout. Boasting some ‘Dopethrone’-era Electric Wizard style tempo slurring on the verses, the smooth minimalist (synth?) solo that breaks out around the four twenty mark is a really interesting and nice touch as a lead into a refined lead guitar melody. Headless Kross channel some Ufomammut style weird oscillations under the vocals on the second half of the song. The closing sections here are where the drums really have some nice tom fills littered throughout the second half of this song.

In closing, a band like this must have epic beards, and in researching their facebook page. They indeed do. Also according to the pictures on their facebook page, they have recorded in a place called Skyhammer Studios before, which is fitting for such a badass band. Overall a great album, ‘Volumes’ is best heard in it's totality to truly appreciate what Headless Kross had done here. Definitely worth checking out and one of the most exciting new bands I've heard in some time.

Buy it at the links below.

Words by: Chris Tedor

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