I 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?
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.
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.