18the November 2016 – At War With False Noise
01. …Does Not Equal Time
02. Practical Mental Effects
03. Church of the Fifth Season
04. The Map is Not the Territory
There’s a section of my brain where I file “Suitable for Roadburn” bands; if I think your band is suitable for Roadburn, you get filed here. This is good; this is what you want. This is what Headless Kross are.
The premise behind the bands isn’t particularly hard to grasp; it’s thunderous psych-doom laced with Iron Monkey-esque shrieks. The band previously went in for some longer jams, hitting the 20 minute mark on 2015′s Volumes. Here, they’ve reigned it in a bit but have added a more colourful psychedelic pulse; where before their sound was lugubrious, here they’re back with renewed drive and purpose.
Projections opens with “…Does Not Equal Time“, a hypnotic, thickly-layered doom track which sets the scene nicely. On the following track “Practical Mental Effects“, the minimalist riffs start to become a pattern and there’s evidence of engagement with noise elements. The shrieks are also more apparent; they fit their newly-adopted psych vibe more than they did their previous material.
“Church of the Fifth Season” features faint spoken word samples and is one of the more active riffs on Projections I; this isn’t a record that puts much stock into singles, but this would certainly be a choice cut. Continuing an earlier theme of rhythmic experiments, the first part of “The Map Is Not The Territory” has an offbeat drum pattern which plays well with the guitars; this escalates into some mighty, righteous psych doom.
Headless Kross reference incorporating various field recordings in Glasgow as forming part of Projection‘s sound, though the elements aren’t always immediately noticeable – an exception being “Church of the Fifth Season“. It’s surprising what they can do without sounding cluttered; an exercise in stripping-back your sound. There are engagements with elements of noise in addition to the samples but they’re mere flirtations; they don’t detract from the heavy, filthy doom framework they’re working in.
The “Suitable for Roadburn” folder generally errs more towards the more out-there acts, and it’s not hard to get behind what this record is: a very well-packaged, well-produced EP from diligent, competent doomsters. This works well in their favour but there’s always a sense that the really great stuff from this movement is the stuff that really goes out on a limb to be bizarre; this record doesn’t have much in the way of risks which it needs to hit the next level. Part of what makes the modern slew of doom and sludge so great is that the slow pace and the vast bank of bizarre influences give hopeful musicians enormous scope to really explore the sound of their instruments and to forge something angular and confrontational.
That said, I wasn’t at all disappointed by Projections I. If you’ve been impressed at their output then this will only give you more reason to like them; there have certainly been more expansive, out-there releases this year (Slomatics, Tides of Sulfur) but this record is a strong example of doom in 2016, and while this style may be rather well-established, a good example such as this is always welcome and there’s plenty of room to expand. Doom on, my bros.