“Prehistoric phenomenon”: Headless Kross – Volumes (2015)

volumesI never much liked metal or any of the prefixes, suffixes, genres or sub-genres.  Especially the stuff with the screaming.  Lordy, that’s always been a bit too much for me.  However, despite my dislike of metal, I started to really dig the whole ‘doom’ thing about ten years ago after discovering the awesome sounds of Dylan Carlson’s Earth.  That opened my ears to a whole bunch of stuffs.  Particularly those who worshipped at the church of Earth.  Those big riffs and slow-motion crashes.

There are two lovely ‘doom’ records in my collection.  Earth’s latest and this one, Volumes, by Headless Kross.  Now, I’ve known Tommy for a couple of years and I mind being really taken when I first heard Bear (their first album).  They took rock n’ roll and all that other good stuffs they liked and played it real slow and real heavy.  Over the course of a couple of years they’ve evolved into swaggering psychedelic doom pedlars.  Volumes is full of slow riffs, droning bass and slow-motion drum crashes.  It’s like dinosaurs roaming scorched landscapes.  The vocals are the screaming kind, but they bend and flow with the music.  Like an instrument, really – a melodic freak-out.  And did I mention that this is a three track album?
headless kross

Rural Juror takes up the whole of side A and it’s utterly and wonderfully malevolent.  21 minutes of scorched earth awesomeness.  It kicks off with a big discordant wall before it’s taken over by sinister wailing guitar, big riffage, minor-chords, psych noodling and some of the slow-motion drum crashing that I love.  It’s a lot like Earth’s last couple of albums, actually – sounding all warm and hypnotic and suchlike.  It locks into a different kind of groove around about the 8 minute mark – the guitar taking control and sounding like it’s hammering down a wall – before the vocal creeps in like some sort of ancient evil throwing warnings about.  The psychedelic stoner-doom awesomeness that kicks in around about the 15 minute mark is pretty special.

Just when you’re used to 20 minute stoner doom grooves, side B comes along and has the audacity of including two songs.  The first, Who Is This Who Is Coming? is relentless.  Pounding and spiralling as Derek shouts about stuff that I can only imagine to be warnings of the malignant beings that may, or may not be, summoned by the sounds of the Kross.  The guitars here are brilliant, buzzing all over with some some exceptional little touches.  My favourite here though is Even the Destroyed Things Have Been Destroyed.  When I picked up my copy of this from Tommy, that title caught my attention straight away.  The riff is magnificent and Derek, Tommy and Jonny hitting a groove like dinosaurs swaggering through a scorched landscape – fuzzy psychedelic fuckery.  Each time I listen I’m tempted to turn the volume up.  Again, there’s some great guitar work and keyboard before it crushes your skull with repetitive riffage and psychedelic wanders.  Truly magnificent stuff.

headless kross back

The artwork is really pretty special; while I hear dinosaurs, I’m willing to accept that this is also the sound of big wooden evil beings rampaging through villages.  I’m really fond of the image on the inner sleeve, too.

22 Comments Add yours

  1. So not a lot like Frank Sinatra, then?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J. says:

      Just a tad different …

      Like

  2. Paul Kerr says:

    not my scene but I really need to at least listen to this after reading the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      Definitely worth a spin, Paul!

      Like

  3. 1537 says:

    ‘never much liked metal’ !!! (faints in disgust)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      … you okay? I should have mentioned that I’ve been attending metal class.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. DanicaPiche says:

    Dinosaurs? I’m intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. deKE says:

    Great opening three sentences to your post! Classic!

    Like

  6. I’m coming over all disgusted and fainty like Joe! I’m sending you to the naughty step to listen to some Autopsy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J. says:

      Are they screamers? Cause I’ll not be having that …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More growly/screamy. EvaOverload calls the style “angry babies”.

        Like

      2. J. says:

        I might be able to cope with the growly business. I’ll throw “angry babies” on the ‘metal class assignment’ list.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’ll be cranking out the brutal party slam before you know it!

        Like

      4. J. says:

        I’ll pull put the Devil horns I nabbed on eBay!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. John Sturm says:

    I’ll be honest, throughout reading this entire post all I could think of was this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YDyjOimInA

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jay says:

    Wow, this is what catches your eye,e h? 🙂

    Like

    1. J. says:

      Can’t go wrong with some big sinister beings wrecking villages, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jay says:

        Something like that 🙂

        Like

  9. keepsmealive says:

    This is an excellent write-up, engaging and making me want to be there listening to it too. I’m with you on the screamy vocals, though I don’t block them out completely. And as for doom, I think about the only thing I have here (apart from those metal mag comps that HMO sent me ages ago) would be a sort of hits of Saint Vitus. I can make sure you hear some of that, if you like (lemme know) Also, have you ever given Isis (the band) a try? If not, maybe you should! 🙂

    Like

    1. J. says:

      Thanks, Aaron. The screamy vocals have often been what’s put me off some really pretty tremendous music stuffs, but it works really well here. Becoming part of a doomy and trippy tapestry!

      I haven’t heard of either of those bands (saw you mention the latter a few times though – would that be right?)

      Like

      1. keepsmealive says:

        Yes indeed, I reviewed a few Isis records over at KMA. I’ll see that you hear some!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. mikeladano says:

    I love the phrase “fuzzy psychedelic fuckery”. Any time “fuckery” can be used in a sentence, I say go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s