Furious and unrelenting, brutal and creatively ruthless, Avarice is the debut album from metallers HorrorHead and a release which, even as we cowered before its callous savagery, had ears devouring every destructive tendency.
HorrorHead is an Australian outfit with its members based in Sydney and Los Angeles. The band consists of guitarist Cliff Newman and vocalist Rob Smith, the latter already well-known to us as the frontman of the equally gripping Aussie incitement Age Of Menace. The duo has bred a sound which is primal and predatory in every breath and touch but equally fertile in melodic twists and imagination stoked enterprise. Certainly it is a proposition which incessantly and hungrily harasses the senses; a beast nurtured in a broad fusion of metal styles which bludgeons its victims with voracious riffs and barbarous rhythms with it all courted by equally feral grooves loaded with an unabated appetite but one just as readily content in exploring an unpredictable array of melodic and inventive twists. It makes for a crushing and rousing trespass which had has hooked and fiercely roaring at the world alongside.
Mixed by Mike Spreitzer (DevilDriver), Avarice opens up with End For You. Instantly it launches a thick tide of riffs, equally esurient grooves twisting around the trespass as harsh rhythms fly. As ruthless as it is, the assault is stubbornly contagious, even as Smith’s throats unleashes a vitriolic cry followed by a just as uncompromising harsh attack in voice and word. Rhythms continue to bully and incite as Newman’s sonic dexterity lays vicious temptation rich bait of. A cauldron of thrash, groove and death metal with more besides, the track sets the release off to a striking uncompromising start swiftly backed and built upon by its title track.
Avarice similarly sets about the senses from its first breath, bestial grooves worming under the skin before refining it to a nagging intimidation ridden by Smith’s similarly belligerent declarations. Defiance and hostility soaks every syllable shaped and launched, rhythms matching the discontent without defusing the track’s infernally infectious character, one only accentuated by the diversity in voice, enterprise, and Newman’s guitar craft.
Across the following pair of Demons Inside and Hell Awaits, HorrorHead continue to abuse and arouse, the first as bloodthirsty as its predecessors yet sharing a richer blend of melody spun grooves amidst murderous rhythms and riffs. Simultaneously, Smith aligns his raw throats attack with the cleaner style he already has revealed his prowess at with his former band. It is a mix which definitely helped shape a favourite track moment though its mercurial landscape of sound was just as fundamental before the second of the two herds its riffs and venom through ears with virulent animosity. Again the band’s mix of voracious flavours merges in feral rancour, its creative blitz honed in animalistic catchiness.
Lyrically Avarice is as argumentative and confrontational as the sounds surrounding Smith’s challenges worldly and intimate targets consumed as the senses and imagination, Hate Me a fine example with its inexorable animus in ferocity and emotion coming equipped with riveting contrasts of menace gripped calms and melody entwined sonic artistry which draws on more classic and progressive metal seeds. Another major highlight, it is straight away matched in adventure and magnetism by Blood And Anger. Its initial carnal assault is entwined in pleasure feeding threads, the subsequent appetite ravishing of grooves upping the persuasive ante as again Smith shares throat raw venting. In turn Newman’s following web of melodic strands only intensifies the lure and tempting of the track, its cunning untamed nagging the constant fuel to a building addiction.
Through the causticity showered baiting of Bring The House Down and the even more violently disposed conflict of Death Awaits, the album thickened its hold; both tracks greedily and mercilessly niggling at welcoming ears whilst casting individual webs of magnetic animosity amidst increasing discontent with their successor, Wasted Lives, arguably unleashing the album’s most viral grooves within its untamed punk lined face-off with the world.
As with all tracks, every listen reveals the richness of styles and flavouring involved in the hellish infection as epitomised by album closer, Ball Of Rage. Increasingly living up to its title, the track harries and browbeats at every turn whilst honing a kaleidoscope of groove woven, pleasure entangling fertility. It is a fine, ear gripping end to a similarly potent release easily drawing fingers to kick the bellicose pleasure off all over again.
There is a touch of a surface similarity across some tracks, though one which increased and proper listening quickly dissolves, and maybe a wish for Smith to bring more of his cleaner ability to the fore for even greater variety but from start to finish Avarice proved a striking and thrilling introduction to HorrorHead which has only grown more gripping by the play.
Avarice is out now on Hype Music on iTunes and Spotify; Download and license on Extreme Music @ https://www.extrememusic.com/albums/3586
Pete RingMaster 18/04/2020
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