Let's start off with an anecdote from my personal life. The first time I played this album my wife and I were doing the dishes. Very short after the first riffs my wife, someone who loves dark music as long as it's not too obtrusive, asked if she could put this louder. I, loud doom fan, said 'sure'. So she did and we continued to throw our dirty, evil plates into the gaping throats of lost, restless souls. And, damn, it felt good. About fourty minutes later (it was a huge pile of dishes) we decided that we already had another candidate for our 'best of 2015' list, and it's only February.
Headless Kross is a psychedelic doom band that formed in Glasgow in 2011. Volumes is their second full-length after Bear (2011), Demises e.p. (2012) and two splits. It will be released on vinyl and cassette (Black Bow Records), CD and digital download (Burning World Records) on April 1st. There's three songs on Volumes, but 'songs' is not really a good word for these. These are whaling psychedelic steamrollers, powerful enough to make cracks in a person's skull when played loud. But, strangely enough, these songs are not just built on pure heaviness, there's a lot more going on.
The music is slow. That's for sure. 'Rural Juror' starts out as a pretty typical first song on a
doom album but suddenly the listener is captured between vintage doom riffs, modern day guitar psychedelics and drone noise. A while later, on the following tracks, some sludge influences come shining through, especially in the vocals. This amount of variation, in only three songs, is quite rare. Besides, it's exactly this aspect that keeps the album interesting and refreshing. Clearly Headless Kross found a blend of genres and completely made it their own.
Another striking and surprising aspect is the rock 'n' roll feel that this album breathes. Sure, people who don't like doom metal think it's all about being as evil and depressive as possible but they do have to respect the blood, sweat and tears that went into creating an album like this. Keeping a song interesting for ten minutes is hard work, let alone a twenty two minutes lasting monster. As a musician you need a solid know-how and a firm belief in your potential to be able to maintain this quality. You need to say the f-word to everything keeping you away from pure, uncut rock 'n' roll.
In all, Volumes surely is way too violent and heavy for the faint hearted. Its side effects might be headaches, loss of sanity and a strong dislike toward humanity. There's a lot of dynamics and pounding repetitive blasts of noise coming your way. However, if you're experienced in extreme music, you got to give this a chance. Headless Cross might become one of those bands who break some boundaries between doom and headstrong uptempo metalheads, just because of the awesome musicianship that has gone into this. And if you're not very experienced, go listen some decent vintage metal and try again...