Sunday, August 24, 2008

Head On Collision - Ritual Sacrifice (Beer City, 2008)

A scene at a St. Louis Payless Shoe Source:

HEAD ON COLLISION: Hey man, where can we find some white hightops?
PAYLESS CASHIER: Sorry dudes, we're all out. They've been on back order for two years.
HEAD ON COLLISION: Are you freakin' kiddin' me??? It's like the most generic kind of shoe you could ask for!
PAYLESS CASHIER: You boys got here a little late -- Warbringer, Evile, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire, Avenger of Blood, Municipal Waste, Bonded By Blood, Violator, Toxic Holocaust and Blood Tsunami snapped up the last 50 pairs.
HEAD ON COLLISION: Damn boys, we gotta haul ass to Hot Topic before they sell out of bullet belts.

You don't really have to listen to St. Louis's Head On Collision for the same reason that you don't really need to listen to any of the other dozens of greenhorn thrash bands snatching up all the skinny jeans over the last year: they bring absolutely nothing new to metal, at best offering high quality re-treads of your favorite Exodus, Vio-Lence and Death Angel tracks, at worst sounding like faceless, redundant wastes of dexterous picking abilities.

Head On Collision - "Violence and Aggression"

Originality is out of the question, so what's left? As thrash revivalists go, Head On Collision are pretty varied in the sources of their cribbage. "Violence and Aggression" is a straight re-write of Slayer's "Angel of Death," down to the opening vocal pattern. "Fear" encompasses the creeping melodies of Ride the Lightning-era Metallica, while the belt-fed riffs of some tracks approach death metal chromaticism. Bay Area gang vox pop up occasionally, and there's a lot of Tom G. Warrior in Pat McCauley's vocals, which is a good thing considering Head on Collision's lyrics rehash the same ol' topics of fear, war, aggression and death, in the same didactic ways as their influences.

Head On Collision - "Fear"

Then there's the elusive quality of "conviction," which is certainly present in Head on Collision's vicious guitar tone and slightly muddy production. But every great 80s thrash band had conviction, and to me, the studied seriousness of Ritual Sacrifice just throws into sharper relief how little the band has to offer. Even a note-perfect recreation of ye olde thrash metal (which Ritual Sacrifice isn't) doesn't scratch my thrash itch, because after 20 years of dormancy, I'm not really itching anymore. Dated and proud, Head On Collision are only for serious metal time capsule types.

Thrash 'til the break of yawn at Head On Collision's MySpace page


Anonymous said...

Haha. Stellar review. I'm in this band and I have to say, reviews like this are a riot. There are no pics of us in this CD, yet the reviewer assumes we OBEY the thrash metal dress code. No originality? Come on now, it's all pretty much been done by now, hasn't it? Admit it. I suppose the reviewer has awesome credentials and all though, writing for "another internet e-zine." That's been done before, hasn't it?

Haha. Awesome review. I love it.

Etan said...

I have the same credentials as you, anonymous poster - I'm a metal fan with an opinion. Sure we've heard almost everything that can be done to metal, but that doesn't mean there aren't bands pushing envelopes or making interesting cross-breeds - off the top of my head, great, forward-thinking albums by Nachtmystium, Torche and Birushanah came out this year. Originality isn't the only criterion for greatness, but your album came out after a year of constant retro-thrash releases, so it's tough not to compare it to the rest.

dschalek said...

I have to review this one, as well, Etan, and I'm not really looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

HoC may be quite generic to a degree, but I can vouch for the fact that these guys do not obey dress codes and they are not in these to be trendy and snatch up bullet belts like 90% of the other bands gaining notoriety in the band 2 years or so. Their album may not be the greatest thrash thing to come out recently, but it certainly has a lot more taste than your review. I agree with the other anonymous poster that your review is a hilarious riot, and should be taken as such, and I seriously agree your credentials are far from reputable. I'm assuming you're a rich kid from California whose parents paid for your college and your way of promoting metal is by casting arrogance on what you believe may be primitive. Warbringer, Evile, Fueled By Fire, and Head on Collision are excellent bands, and excellent people who write excellent music and will forever be more respected and more bad ass than you will ever be. For the record...not all thrashers wear skinny jeans, bullet belts, and white high tops. With you citing bands such as Pink Floyd, Red Chord, D'Angelo, Joni Mitchell and Sonic Youth as some of your favorite music, I don't see any reason for you to even associate yourself with anything close to being metal.

Etan said...

Woo-hoo!!! Traffic!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Head On Collision is becoming quite controversial? I saw this band at the Minneapolis Mayhem 3 fest a few years ago. They were the surprise new band of the show. Quite awesome, even giving Hirax and other veteran thrash acts on the bill a run for their money (in my opinion). They had the audience pretty worked up for their 3pm slot. That's not all that easy to achieve! I've seen them twice since then and they never fail to deliver!

I also recently received my copy of Ritual Sacrifice. The only complaints I really have are the mix and some of the playing could've been a little tighter. I know they are capable of that.

That said, I have played this over a dozen times and it doesn't disappoint! People who don't like this album seem to really have it out for the so called "thrash revival." It's a shame HOC get lumped in with all the teen bands that try to duplicate what the original bands of the 80's had already done. I find them quite genuine.

This review also peeked my interest about the reviewer. He seems to like all these "50 genres in 6 minutes" bands. I don't at all find that style entertaining, nor would I spend my time writing a review about it. I actually wasted my time viewing his pics on myspace as well, which leads to one question... Is there a fratboy requirement to writing metal reviews? If so, I'm signing up for college and would like to be considered!

Also, after reading one of HOC's current blogs, I realize the guys have a sense of humor and can shake it off. Good for them. I would hate to think they have the same mentality as this reviewer.

Anonymous said...

This album is fucking righteous! The fact that this guy hates it makes me like it even more!