Headshot - _As Above, So Below_
(Firefield Records, 2008)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8 out of 10)
The year 2008 has witnessed the release of a multitude of thrash metal albums; Destruction's _D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N_, Bonded by Blood's _Feed the Beast_ and Testament's _The Formation of Damnation_ are a few examples. It also witnessed the release of the fourth album by German thrashers Headshot. Hailing from Braunschweig, Headshot have cemented their name on the modern thrash scene with _As Above, So Below_. The album is for any thrash fan to feast their ears upon and definitely one to be considered as a reference point in years to come; a genre-definer if you will. Headshot manage to deliver an intelligently structured yet straightforward sounding form of thrash that is rarely found among the younger bands that are releasing debut albums almost every week now.

The eleven track offering kicks off with "Isolation", which gets the gears in motion for 44 minutes. Next up is "Which Means War", soaring at full speed, neatly trimmed and kept at just under two minutes. As you go through the album, you'll encounter some clever musical arrangements and variations, such as the highly energetic chorus on "Bound to Fail", the twin guitar and bass melody on "Old Patterns" or those angry screams on "In Your Face". It is also worth mentioning that the bassist on this record deserves a bigger slice of attention than the average thrash bassist, shining mostly on "Quest for the Sun" and its successor "Cuts Beneath the Skin". The guitar department could probably get battered with accusations of stealing the trademark Kerry King solos if more people were to listen to the first minute of "Cuts Beneath the Skin", but the riff mayhem that follows will shut everyone up because it is challengingly difficult to prove that he can count to seven while playing.

Fans of epic works of violence will definitely admire the title track, which stretches on for over nine minutes, encompassing a wide array of ideas and transitions where every band member has even more space for creativity; another track on which the bassist boldly stamps his name. "The Swarm" is a five minute instrumental for all the tech-geeks to enjoy away from any force-fed ideas or lyrics that would stick to the sound of the music. The last piece for the day is "We Disintegrate", which ends proceedings on a high note; vocally! The vocals on this track reach a record high pitch for the whole album, but of course the tightly woven intricate licks provided by the guitars are yet another example of just how talented these guys are.

_As Above, So Below_ probably won't win any awards this year, since beginner-level thrash metal is becoming a trend nowadays, which puts off those without a trained ear for such form of art. It could be overlooked by many as 'just another thrash album', but if you actually focus and give it a good listen, you'll realize that this album has to be taken as somewhat of a cornerstone of modern thrash, or the new wave as some would like to call it. In conclusion, this piece of work is good enough to teach someone how thrash metal should sound like.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/headshotmusic

(article published 8/10/2009)

8/22/2011 A El Naby 6.5 Headshot - Synchronicity
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