Oh my, another new project from ULVER’s Krystoffer Garm Rygg… One thing that’s for sure already is that it won’t be predictable. Far from anything he has ever done with ULVER, which is a lot, or ARCTURUS or BORKNAGAR for that matter Garm now teamed up with Daniel Cardoso (SIRIUS) from Portugal to create a groovy Rock project called HEAD CONTROL SYSTEM. It needs to be said that Cardoso is the main force behind HCS, also handling the production. And as a focal point for the band the guys chose serial killers and girls… This can be interpreted as both an oddly interesting or boring combination. Not that it matters much because whatever the motivation it’s still the music that counts.
And the music is indeed really groovy, in many different ways. Sometimes HCS gets pretty heavy, sometimes almost poppy. There are relatively simple parts but also plenty of songs that are almost border-line Avantgarde Rock. From the hypnotic background drone of “Baby Blue” to the solid double bass drums of “Masterpiece (Of Art)” HCS is always different yet the whole listening experience is extremely smooth. Too smooth I would say; regardless of the challenging and skillfully played guitar solos or the class rhythm section, heavy or not, “Murder Nature” remains an album seemingly overqualified as background music which is a shame, because the musicianship and challenging compositions can be highly enjoyable.
One of the more atypical songs from the album, the short “Kill Me” is actually one of my favorite songs here. It only contains piano tones as well as other depressive and spacey sounds and together with Garm’s voice this creates a great emotional song. It leads into another great song, “Wonderworld” which is a lot heavier and darker then its preceding songs. Especially the guitar playing really shines here. These two songs account for a strong second-half of the album, something that’s not always a given thing.
A release that is both extremely easy as well as challenging to listen to, the quality is certainly there, especially with the at times brilliant guitar work and drumming. But perhaps the production as well as the vocal delivery is a bit too smooth. (Online March 28, 2006)