A band who might not have cropped up on your radar is Heads., a band I would call genre agnostic, but gets grouped into labels like post-punk, sludge and noise rock. Their second album, Collider, is something I cannot recommend enough on a number of fronts. Not only is it very unique, with a stand out sonic experience, but it’s also a monument to what a compromise between attention to detail and raw sound can deliver.
Hailing from Berlin, the trio took 2 years to write and record Collider, with the band describing the recording process like being in The Shining. However, the end result comes off as anything but lunacy, with the presented soundscape being rich, enveloping and full of substance. The guitar tones are, for lack of a better word, chunky, with the heavy sludgy sound rebounding off of lighter notes, making the atmosphere of the album bouncy, even though the vocals and lyrics are pretty damn bleak.
Comparison wise, I’m struggling based on my own personal taste, but last year’s Isaac Vacuum certainly comes close. Also hailing from Deutschland, they pushed out a similar sounding record with more style than content. Collider lands smack in the middle, with incredible soundscapes presented but not at the cost of an enjoyable song. Elsewise, you’re looking at comparisons with Deftones‘ earlier sound – the album certainly is a throwback to the 90s, but with a modern, noisier sound to it. I also drew comparisons to Tera Melos, which I reviewed last year.
It’s hard to pick favorites from the album, because they are all so good, but let me have a go for you. “Urges”, the second track on the album, kicks in fast and heavy. The twangy guitars, mixed with a thundering bass groove and over the top snare, are really nice and creates a warm, indulging atmosphere. “Samsa” starts off with a noisy beginning, multiple layers swirling around the auditory landscape, before the song settles down for a trippy outro. “Last Gasp Shout” reminds me of The Ocean with a more post-metal sound to it. The meaty bass offsets the almost Queens Of The Stone Age vibes from the lead guitar too.
Is the snare too much in some songs? Yes. Does the band care? Nope. I’ve seen online that they like it as is, so who am I to complain? Can the album get samey? Yes definitely, especially if you’re not paying the album attention. But when you do pay attention, you can separate all tracks based on the vocal style, the stand out chords being strummed and the wonderful bass tones. Some days I don’t want to hear the dreary vocal style, but on other days it’s the perfect volume for what I need. Mixed with the sometimes jarring noise-rock, it’s damn cool, and also so utterly Germanic.
This is definitely a stand out album – from the powerful opener to the unplugged title track, it has a wide array of songs to whet your appetite. Fans of the aforementioned bands will get along with Heads., and our tone loving punters should give it a listen too. The album is not only a mature offering which samples a really agnostic sound, but, as mentioned previously, toes the line between style and substance perfectly. I’m excited to catch them on European tours and will be keeping both ears to the ground for this band.
Notable Tracks: “Urges”; “Samsa”; “Last Gasp Shout”
FFO: Isaac Vacuum, Deftones, Tera Melos