Heads For the Dead
III: The Great Conjuration

I was ready to fight to review this. Not literally, though as it would have been between myself, Frank, and Steve. I’ve met Frank and I’m more than 100% certain he could kick my ass. While I’ve not met Steve, some of the fish he’s caught rival me in size, so I’m not confident.

With all of that being said, a new Heads for the Dead release comes with lofty expectations ‘round these parts. I’m a huge fan of their previous work , enjoying their OSDM prowess mixed with their Italian horror and overall Necrophagia vibes. They’re also on Transcending Obscurity Records, which means the physical format and associated merch are outstanding.

That means nothing if the new tunes aren’t great. Well, I’m here to tell you they are. The promotional materials state this is a band coming into their own, and say what you will about promos, but this one is accurate. It sounds like a band confident in what they’re doing. You don’t have to wait long to find out, either, as the first track, “The Jewel of the Seven Stars” is a banger. To have the chorus appear twice a couple of minutes apart is risky, but excellent songwriting because of multiple headbangable riff sections and a killer solo.

If you’re looking for other great tracks, you could just spin a wheel and land on any. While Rauf Hauber’s vocals haven’t exactly changed on this album, they do sound more expressive, forward, and imposing. On “Bloodline,” which is track 6, they’re the highlight, despite another monstrous performance from the rest of the band.

Immediately following it is perhaps the best track, which is also the longest, “World Serpent Dominion.”  It starts with a marching drumbeat, building to the rest of the instruments coming in. The synths that were hinted at on their last EP make a prominent appearance about 2 ½ minutes in and make this one stand out. I wish they would have returned to them a little earlier, but that makes them more impactful when they do. These guys know how to write excellent death metal songs which bring in other elements seamlessly, without making them sound like a novelty.

To end the album is a cover called “Bloody Hammer,” which is pretty obscure in my view, but someone will probably tell me I’m wrong. I do like a good cover, though. Then the closer itself is “The Fog,” obviously referring to the John Carpenter classic, but this song stands on its own with another stellar vocal performance, excellent leads, and a stomping verse riff. The synths/keys near the end are also highlight. I wish they were used a little more, but that’s literally my only criticism.

This may be the band’s best work yet.  I’m quite glad they stuck to the formula so to speak, but continue to move forward, sprinkling in synths, which appeared on their Slash N’ Roll EP. I’m not quite sure it will surpass Serpent’s Curse as my favorite release from them, but I won’t rule out the possibility once I’ve listened to it enough. Do not hesitate for a moment. Seriously, what are you doing? Go buy it! Don’t be a dipshit.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
September 22nd, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: Steve K

    MORE SYNTHS! They work so well with HFTD’s whole vibe.

    This album is friggin’ sweet.


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