I’ve been following HEAD ON COLLISION for a little while now and was more than pleased that I would have the chance to review their debut release “Ritual Sacrifice”. But even before I had a chance to listen to the album I had come across some very harsh critics of the band and thusly was expecting some cliché and uninspired Thrash Metal.
Those critics are mistaken. Granted with the Thrash revival movement that is taking place all around the world, its not hard to suddenly be lost in a sea of Thrash Metal, especially when you are playing an old school and aggressive Thrash. And quite frankly, “Ritual Sacrifice” isn’t the most original sounding album this year. But is it everything a Thrash fan wants? Absolutely.
HEAD ON COLLISION is balls out Thrash that isn’t afraid to counter balance the speed and complexities with some slower riffs and borderline Death Metal drumming. The guitar work is pretty solid with the melodies and solos needing a little tightening to be truly impressive. And vocalist, Pat McCauley although as some great moments in his delivery, tends to sound a bit hollow. I attribute this more towards inexperience than lack of talent though. But the element I truly enjoyed about HEAD ON COLLISION is the drumming from skinsman, Jason Brooks. His delivery, although not the most precise material you will ever hear, has amazing energy and performance juju. I found myself listening to him more often than the rest of the band.
So if this band has potential, then why the lower rating you may ask? Perhaps it’s not the band itself that deserves the rating as the recording of the album. Although there is potential in the band and in the album, it’s hindered by sub par production values. It undermines a lot of good work that the band is doing. The guitar tones are a little thin when they could have been really meaty, the drums have a bit of a flat tick to them, and the bass is almost completely gone. Not to mention that McCauley’s vocals do sound hollow. And this doesn’t feel to be the band’s fault on “Ritual Sacrifice.” This is unfortunate – because if someone like Andy Sneap had been behind the board I have a feeling this album could have rivaled ONSLAUGHT’s “Killing Peace”.
So it’s a great start for a new Thrash band, but “Ritual Sacrifice” could have used a far better production, a little tightening on the performances, and bit more flare in the song writing. But in the end, it is still a debut album from a young band a much of this will come with time. Great solid start boys! Let’s see you guys push yourselves even further!
Songs to check out: “Fear”, “Violence And Aggression”, “God Hand”.
(Online September 8, 2008)