I don’t think it would be a stretch to appoint HELLNIGHT’s "Head Collector" with the title of "most charming piece of music pertaining to rape, necrophilia and human taxidermy of all time". Unlike bands of the Brutal Death Metal persuasion, most of whom sing about similar topics, HELLNIGHT doesn’t take anything seriously, or at least from a lyrical standpoint. Tales of the grim and the macabre are presented in an upbeat, Black n Roll fashion, complete with goofy riffs, melodic guitar solos, simple drum patterns, shrieking keyboards and a half sung/half growled vocal performance.
The production however, does not fit the music at all. This is a terribly produced EP. The cymbals distort nearly everything else, and the guitars sound like a wall of fuzz. This type of production would have suited the EP had it been a BURZUM album, but here it just competes with the upbeat feeling of liveliness that urges its way through the fog of distortion to make itself the dominate force. Surprisingly enough, the bass guitar is one of the more audible and smooth sounding portions of the music, and while it isn’t a miraculous feat of musicianship, the bass player manages to aid in the struggling tone of fun and goofiness that wishes so desperately to strive. The keyboards, also one of the more audible elements, have something of a reverse effect. They sound so nice, and so friendly; they’re a musical Ted Bundy–charming and charismatic, but with a disgusting motive lurking underneath.
Despite the low production values, the music is still a barrel of fun. I was listening to it on a bus not too long ago, and I felt the urge to sing aloud. Even the less tongue-in-cheek moments, "Mastermind" especially, are still catchy as all get out. Really, the production is the only thing working against this EP. But it really is terrible, and it varies from song to song. "Kill The King" is nearly impossible to listen to because of it. Listening to that song now, I can only identify a miserable semblance of something related to an interesting riff, and the distant drone of what sounds like double-bass drumming. Despite this foible, "Head Collector" is still a damned fine piece of entertainment. It is to "Transylvanian Hunger" what "Sean of the Dead" is to "Dawn of the Dead"–goofy as hell, but with a great affection for what it is mocking.
(Online November 5, 2008)