Urban Head Raw
Human Instinct

I wonder if my wild imagination as a kid and the countless of hours watching Robotech (yeah yeah, I know that it’s watered down from the Macross series) in the ’80s did the damage or what, but I grew a perversion for Japanese metal bands, especially those that played something resembling thrash metal. It seems that when the Japanese decide to form a band of a hard nature, they’re extremely enthusiastic and it really shows. Even if the production job or whatnot is not up there with the German or American ones, it doesn’t matter since the “fun” shines brighterUrban Head Raw (huh?) is no different with their Human Instinct album. Like fellow bands such as United and Grim Force, UHR plays fast and hard metal based on crunching riffs and in your face attitude. Basically the musical architecture resembles a mix between something that D.R.I. might have come up with and some of those hardcore bands from New York or New Jersey. Spiced with tormenting solos, it’s definitely a mix that will bust people’s nuts without even thinking twice. And hell, I’m not even that big of a hardcore fan to begin with so that’s saying a lot. On top of that, there’s a clear resemblance with Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. too. And it’s not just music wise, but “Refuse/Resist” and “Territory” sure show up from the lyrics too. Even if there’s room to improve on that department for UHR, I can’t avoid the comparison. But that’s not a bad thing since I’m more than okay with it. Plus it’s always heart warming to see songs that have been cut from everything unnecessary in the authentic SCUM-era Napalm Death style. The eight track, “Dai” simply states “Dai!” a couple of times while the music cracks skulls open with a sledge hammer.

Listening to Human Instinct is like listening to your old favorites again but also getting a lot of new experiences and feelings on top of that so it doesn’t feel like it’s just another simple tribute album featuring boring covers of awesome songs. No. This wall of distorted guitars and showered spit is a monument that stands on its own two feet and fist held up high. It’s pointless to pick out stand out tracks since it’s a pure mosh fest from the beginning to the end. The production is excellent too, with enough rough edges to make it more primal but balanced enough not to make it sound like it was recorded at someone’s garage with a broken 4-track. It’s a shame that the possibilities for me to see these guys live is pretty much non-existent because I’m sure it would be one of the rawest and most energetic shows I would see.

As Armored Saint would say: Urban Head Raw delivers!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
July 27th, 2004

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