The Headless Ghost
King Of Pain

The Headless Ghost is a new Italian band and is also now signed to an Italian label, the excellent Punishment 18 Records.  The Headless Ghost originally started out a few short years ago more as a tribute act to Mercyful Fate/King Diamond.  And as you can see from this kick ass album art, the King Diamond influence is ever present, however as the band has grown, this debut, has left the Mercyful Fate influence behind.

The influence of King Diamond is still there with the galloping speedy moments which will call to mind the Abigail/Them time period, however, the band has branched out as you will hear influences ranging from Sabbath to Maiden to Priest.  I had never heard about this band until very recently and have been playing this sucker around the clock.  As with the King Diamond era influence this King of Pain debut album happens to be a concept story about some serial killer, what is real, what is not, a ghost of a child and all sort of convoluted madness, one would come to expect with a creepy ass old school house adorning an album cover.

The title track starts things off with a creepy kid’s voice muttering a nursery rhyme and disjointed piano keys.  The music starts soon thereafter and definitely has an early King Diamond style to it with the thunderous double bass and the guitar solo coming in reeks of KD worship and the dual-layered vocals help out with that influence.  The song slows down and definitely has that mid-80s European galloping heavy metal style down, which also contains a big NWOBHM topper to go along with it.  The guitar riffing is fantastic, and the drumming sounds on point with some of the drum rolls and the chorus has some catchiness to it, with the title track repeated multiple times.  More guitar soloing enters the picture and the song picks up that galloping speed metal momentum, just like vintage King Diamond, towards the end of the song.

“Inside the Walls” starts next, seamlessly, from the opener and gets into a kick ass thrashy pace!  Many guitar solos on this and the lyrics take on a darker more compelling tone with lyrics ranging from being chopped up into pieces and the young girl, I would assume, calling out for her Father.  Again each song, starts with a slight intro, like clapping thunder etc and the next song begins quickly, so there is no space between and as a conceptual approach this works extremely well.. think of each song as a chapter to a book.  This song has some nice poly-rhythmic opening drumming going on before the song gets into a nice gallop with vocalist Steven Crow showcasing his range.  He actually has a vocal style that would not be out of place on a power metal album.  He can snarl those vocals when he wants and some of the vocals should be snarled a bit more, in my opinion, during more of the dark subject lyrics being belted out.  They just do not scream high vocals during those moments.  This song has a lot of epic layering of vocals and a multitude of guitar melodies.  During some of the galloping speeds, the singer has a bite to him, which calls to mind classic SF Bay Area thrash metal vocalist, Russ Anderson, from Forbidden, I really enjoy this style quite a lot.

“Angel in Flame” is the longest song at seven minutes and starts out softly and stays in a slow – midpace speed for the song’s duration and has some very cool classic heavy metal guitar solo action rapping us upside our head.  This song is the perfect placement in the track list, with all the quicker paced and more intense songs coming before and this song is epic and has a very classic metal sound to it, like maybe a power ballad type of thingamajig happening.  The rest of the songs across the album are all quite good and really help tell the story the band is going for and each song title coincides nicely with how the song is written and how the pace of the track is played.

The Headless Ghost are an exciting up and coming metal band and King of Pain is an excellent debut album.  Along with the excellent artwork and band logo the band backs it up with their high quality musicianship and what more could you really ask for in a metal album?  Check this act out now!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 30th, 2024

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