Heads For the Dead
Into The Red

As if Transcending Obscurity Records didn’t already kill it with phenomenal releases in 2020, we now get the sophomore effort from Heads For the Dead who are made up of: Ralf Hauber on vocals, Ed Warby on drums and Jonny Pettersson on all other instruments.  The band’s 2018 debut Serpent’s Curse flew past me in a very busy year for me that year, so after spending time with Into the Red I can say this is a kick-ass record and band.  Fellow TOTD writer, James Mays is a very big fan of Heads For the Dead, as well.  Ralf fronts the awesome German band Revel in Flesh, Jonny is in a million bands, most notably Wombbath and Ed of Gorefest/Hail of Bullets fame.

So we get a line-up of some monster heavy hitters in our wonderful death metal scene.  12 songs in over 46” where the band incorporates some doses of horror, infused with European death metal.  The title track immediately erupts with a nice quick pace and then a slow-down with a grunting spoken word from Ralf-very cool as he does some vocal expansion on this, that maybe would not fit in Revel in Flesh.  I notice Ralf going raspier on this, more enunciation in his vocal delivery and more higher pitched register screams all mixed in with more of his bellowing, although on this he does more mid-range vocals.  Really awesome.  Excellent guitar work and I really love the guitar melodies over the slower and fast moments with Ralf screaming in the higher registers.  It actually fits quite nicely.

“The Coffin Scratcher” has a nice isolated guitar opening moment right before Ralf lets out an awesome Tom Warrior, vintage Celtic Frost, stylized grunt before the classic quick beat comes in.  Ed still knows how to throw in some tasty blast beats as he throws in some early on in the song and they sound as tight as ever, just like when he first debuted his blast beating style on the classic Gorefest song “The Glorious Dead” off the legendary False album.

“At the Dead of Night”, has a musical opening that would fit alongside a Vincent Price movie, in terms of the song structure and some sound FX and Ralf throwing in some high pitched screams as if a pendulum is slicing and dicing his innards all over the place.  I need to ask him how his voice feels after those high pitched screams- shit sounds painful. “Night Ripping Terror” is ferociously brutal with the opening blast beats.  Really high intensity here folks as Ralf goes with the screams and mid-range vocals and Jonny’s guitar sounds awesomely heavy, European of course, in nature and has this otherworldly feel to it, which add to the ambience associated with horror.  “The Revenant” has an awesome 1989 Obituary fast speed to it, before erupting into higher intensity speeds.

The Darkthrone cover of “Transilvanian Hunger” was a pleasant surprise as this is one of the coldest and darkest songs Darkthrone ever wrote, during their prime.  Heads For the Dead keep to that sound and Jonny emulates the guitar tone perfectly.  Ralf’s vocals sound great as he alternates registers and Ed keeps the pace.  The drumming on the original provided no real deviation to begin with as it stays the same fast speed throughout and Ed throws in some nice drum rolls to break up the monotony.  Really a great song to cover and the band pulls it off.  “Creatures of the Monolith”, the longest song on the album, ends as a slower, brooding number with some killer double bass action.  Nice guitar slides and some atmospheric moments.  The perfect song to end the album, which is drenched in a horror atmosphere.

Heads For the Dead pull of a damn fine album, with Into the Red.  The production is excellent, sharp, not too polished, a little raw, but still sounding excellent, memorable songs, horror atmosphere and pretty darn original to boot.  Get this album now, it’s fresh and high quality death metal.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 11th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    I’m a big fan of Serpents Curse, have the special edition CD, and the CD special edition of the new one is on its way. Serpents Curse is one of my favorite recent OSDM albums.


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