(All Album Reviews by maribor)
Gwynn Adams – guitars
Deirdre Lynds – guitars
Van Spragins – bass
Matthew Guggemos – drums
Additional musicians: Igor Abuladze – guitar (1,9), Wally Scharold (2,5)
The first time I put this disc on, I was doing something else. It didn’t take long though before I had to stop whatever I was doing and give my full attention to this intriguing music. Let me just say that Headshear don’t play music that would be traditionally considered prog, but perhaps it is progressive. This is a guitar extravaganza that will really challenge your mind.
At first the guitar melodies seem quite simple and nothing special but on several listens you can hear that there is a lot of intricacy in their playing. Gwynn Adams and Deirdre Lynds, together with the guest guitarists create layer upon layer of guitars. Sometimes I wasn’t sure whether I was hearing four or five different guitars playing at once. It’s quite hard (at least for me) to try to listen to so many stacked melodies, but once you start feeling it, this music can really put you in a trance. The melodies are very mesmerizing, you can get lost quite easily in music like this. To an average music fan, this music might appear bland and boring because there are not many solos in here. They build their melodies on a different kind of complexity – compositional. Building layers of melodies is just as difficult as creating several melodies. So basically, these guys have so many melodies in one song as an average pop star has in maybe two albums.
While the guitars are obviously in charge of procedures here, let’s not forget the other musicians. Van Spragins adds a very special funky bass that resounds in the background of every song and Matthew Guggemos drumming is equally exceptional. If the drumming was perhaps a bit jazzier you could almost believe you were listening to King Crimson’s Discipline. Well, at least to me, this excellent album sounds a bit like King Crimson’s 80s albums. You know – the mesmerizing guitar segments, unusual melodies, a very full sound. If anything, I would say that the Headshear album is more consistent than those Crimson albums, which had a lot of those “ambiental” parts. There’s nothing like that hear, only “Viscous” is played at a slower beat, otherwise all the songs are very funky and rocking.
Splendid. Great music for those long car rides.
(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
(originally written for www.prog4you.com)
Headshear is a band based in the Bay Area in San Francisco, and with a history going back to the late 90's they finally managed to release their debut album in 2006.
Now, based on the location as well as the cover of their debut album, you might suspect that this one will be all about metal in one form or another. After all, the Bay Area have a history for producing good metal bands, and the sci-fi cover with that grisly character wearing some kind of futuristic equipment is something that at least I would normally associate with metal in one way or another.
But instead, what Headshear has decided to offer the buying public is music placed somewhere in the area between instrumental rock, experimental rock and fusion. The drumming is technically good and advanced when needed, without being adventurous or dominating in any way. The bass guitar thumps and sways in a way that has jazz written all over it; but without any soloing. The guitars are everywhere, with disharmonies and crisscrossing melody lines, what appear to be elements of atonalities to my listening ears and several examples of disharmonies combined into making harmonies in the overall soundscape. But with no soloing; just melody lines and the odd moments of riffs here and there as well.
One obvious point of reference for this band is early 80's King Crimson; the guitar sound on many tunes have that distinct sound and mood Fripp played around with at that moment in time. Other tracks also made me think about Sleepytime Gorilla Museum in places; as Headshear have their heavier moments now and then.
As for the songs here as such; for me they become a varied affair. The tracks sounding least experimental or maybe most accessible is a better term here, are very good. And in my opinion, these tracks are the opening 3 songs on this album. All of them relatively accessible, with good momentum and drive; interesting melody lines and moods.
But after the opening tracks, the band seems to get more and more experimental. Not quite my cup of tea; but for those who think that for instance the second half of King Crimson's Three of a Perfect Pair (disregarding later bonus tracks) is excellent music, the last 5 tracks on this release will be heaven sent.
Anyone into experimental and complex guitar-based experimental rock with prog and fusion spicing should check this release out anyhow; as this release is made for you people.
My rating: 62/100