Headshrinker
Callous Indifference

A little while back in the Teethofthedivine break room, we were talking about our favorite albums so far this year. Someone mentioned one album gave them a “holy shit” moment, and I realized I had yet to experience such a thing this young year. While I choked down my microwaved frozen gas station burrito on my daily 10-minute break (we need a union), I started to ponder if, and when this may occur. Maybe I was overthinking it. Maybe I still am.

Enter Denver, Colorado’s Headshrinker. Yeah, it’s that serious. Before knowing anything about the band, I took a blind listen, then found out they describe the band as a symbol of the mental health issues with which we all deal. Including members of Polyptych, Havok, and a former member of The Absence, I never would have known if I hadn’t read it, because this is unexpected.

So, how does it sound? Well, imagine an amalgam of Dismember (the HM-2), Ulcerate, Asphyx, and maybe Gojira. Sound sexy? Well, check out track 1, “The Burn of Indifference.” It definitely starts out with that old school Swedish vibe. You can hear the bass, maybe that snare is a little tight, but it’s good. Less than a minute in, it gets into a fist pumping rumble, which will get you moving, especially if you’re listening during a workout. However, at about a minute-and-a-half in, it gets quiet, then goes back into the rumble. When I heard this track for the first time, I was floored.

However, track 2, “Cadaver’s Mind” might be better. There’s definitely a, let’s say, downtempo, Asphyx vibe, if you can imagine them using HM-2 pedals. I will once again comment on the bass presence, as its rumble brings a lot to the table here. About halfway through the track, it transitions into a section sounding very much like the previously mentioned Dismember, even if it doesn’t stay there long. Two tracks in and this album sounds like guys who love all forms of death metal and want to create their own masterpiece using all the best parts.

“Wretched Soul,” which is track 4, does not deviate too far from the formula, but here’s what stands out about it; The drums. If you’re at all familiar with Gatecreeper (of course you are), you may have read how they don’t do much with double bass or blast beats. This approach tends to make the music heavier, and that approach really stands out here. There are some electronic sounding elements blended into the background with around 2 minutes left, which add to the overall flavor, and are not a distraction in the slightest.

After the first several blastings, if you’re looking for a change of pace, look no further than track 6, “Haunted By Your Reflection.” It starts out with some clean, yet delayed picking. Instead of clean vocals being utilized here, they are still screamed. More than likely from a ghostly apparition. When the music gets heavy, it’s all the more impactful. The overall vibe during the quieter parts has an almost Dimmu Borgir-like quality to it. With its frequent tempo changes, use of dynamics, and willingness to experiment, despite this being the lengthiest track, it’s the most ambitious, and the most successful, taking nothing away from the rest of the album.

Of course, after that, I have to touch on the closing track, “No Lineage Shall Follow.” Otherwise, this review may get out of hand length-wise. The final track starts out with a more subdued vibe, much like some of the previously mentioned tracks, but this is definitely a death doom banger all the way through, ending the album much like it began.

If you really couldn’t tell by the heaps of praise I threw on the album in this review, I really enjoy it. There are so many good things, including the fact that it stays below 40 minutes, that it’s difficult to pick out flaws. You know those times when an album just hits you at the right moment in time? This is one of those times. Being a fan of the HM-2 sound, as well as death doom, Callous Indifference just hits the spot. If you’re a fan of death metal, I think you’ll be a fan of this record, even if you’re not a fan of all forms of death metal. I try not to make proclamations like this often, but as mentioned above, I had been looking for my “holy shit” moment this year when it comes to albums. I found it. Will this end up being my album of the year? Well, there’s still half of it left, but let me say it will without a doubt be a strong contender.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
August 6th, 2021

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