A trio a world apart HEADS. found common ground between Melbourne and Berlin in their love for the esoteric noise rock and proto-sludge metal of the mid-80’s and early 90’s. Formed in 2014 HEADS. represent a curiously chill sect of noise rock with the dryly melodic delivery of Failure‘s ‘Comfort’ and the spaced-out window gazing Unwound began to explore in the mid-90’s beyond ‘New Plastic Ideas’. Much of the album drifts in alternating currents of wandering guitar pyrotechnics, rubberized basslines and some Michael Gira-esque (alternately Scott Kelley) brooding. When ‘Collider’ does build outside of their sleepiness, a sort of Bitch Magnet meets Melvins sort of thing happens that balances noise rock and modern atmospheric sludge metal precariously. These ringing, punched-up moments are perhaps the most powerful HEADS.‘ debut has to offer, but the incredibly chill atmospheric tone of the album is appropriately modern in feel throughout.
Smooth operators here even more than on their self-titled EP in 2015, HEADS. doesn’t necessarily have the post-punkish, hammered-out feeling of most modern noise rock contemporaries and instead offers alternative rock song structures and brazen Albini-esque hooks. A moderate fan of Bitch Magnet and a big fan of Unwound‘s ‘Repetition’ I found most of ‘Collider’ gelled well with a relaxed or introspective mood and my own tastes. Ed Fraiser‘s baritone leaning moments that go early 90’s Gira don’t necessarily feel ‘goth’ but their tone in combination with Slint-like spoken prose didn’t resonate with me personally. Not for lack of genuine affect but generally bland tone.
Slightly long and almost too atmospheric for it’s own good ‘Collider’ is saved by their representation of an under-served public and keen grasp of the best elements to come from the post-hardcore revivalist focus on noise rock. Pleasant and rarely challenging in tone HEADS. offer some of the easiest listening sludge rock so far this year and a listening experience that’ll appeal to fans of post-metal/atmosludge as much as devotees to the artsy noise/alt rock of the early 90’s. For preview I’d start with “At The Coast” for it’s surreal delivery and then jump to “Samsa” and space out.
|Released||May 4, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Corpse Flower Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow HEADS. on Facebook|
Understand this redeemer. 3.5/5.0
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