Recipe for Germany’s HEADSHOT:
1 cup of all-purpose groove/thrash riffing
1 cup of Marty Friedmanesque shredding
1 tsp. of granulated Mille Petrozza
1 tsp. of light John Oliva
½ cup of Swedish guitar harmonies
1/4 cup of Chuck Schuldiner-inspired technicality
Pretune stereo to highest possible volume setting. Pop "As Above, So Below" into stereo, and leave in for 44 minutes and 41 seconds.
HEADSHOT is Germany’s latest Thrash Metal export, and they are a damn good one at that. They manage to bridge the gap between groove Thrash (which I am often not fond of) and genuine, balls to the wall Thrash Metal. Album opener, "Isolation" races along at ludicrous speeds while maintaining a dominating groove sound. Many other of the album’s tracks make use of this genre blurring tactic; "Which Means War" sounds like PANTERA with KREATOR’s Mille Petrozza on vocals. HEADSHOT does occasionally fall victim to groove Metal cliches–from time to time they lock themselves into a stagnant hole of plodding groove thumps. These moments are very few and far between thankfully, and this is mostly a solid Thrash affair with the emphasis on the Thrash.
The lead guitar work is absolutely stunning. Even the most jaded metalhead should be won over by the lightning fast solos, a lot of which sound as if they were torn from the pages of "Rust In Peace", and the infectious guitar harmonies just add to the exhilarating feel. "As Above, So Below" is a vehicle that I find works best when its drivers are consistently accelerating rather than forcing themselves into groove territory. Take "Bound To Fail" for example–it is short, at just over three minutes, and it blows by in what feels like a matter of seconds without sacrificing and shred of memorability. I can still feel it pounding inside of me when it ends. To put it into simpler terms, some of the best modern Thrash Metal songs appear on this album.
The nine-minute epic of a title track is glued together by an expansive middle section which consists of a barrage of breakneck guitar solos, frantic harmonies, absolutely pummelling drums and a confidently unique bass guitar performance. Every instrumentalist in this band is gifted, and each one shows it in their own unique way. As mentioned, the vocalist sounds quite a bit like Mille Petrozza. His roar is sharp and ferocious. Occasionally he will shriek like John Oliva, but he adds his own unique flair to the words he screams.
Modern Thrash fans will love this album; there is no denying that fact. Fans of oldschool Thrash will find a lot to love as well. HEADSHOT are quite the rockin’ band, and they are one that will be around for a long time.
(Online August 20, 2008)