Headless is a hard-rock/metal band that was originally created in the early 1990s. The band put out an EP and, after many years, a full length album in 1998. A lengthy split ensued, and the two main members, guitar players, and songwriters, reunited in 2011. Finally, in 2013, their new album, Growing Apart, was released.
The band consists of the aforementioned guitarists Walter Cianciusi and Dario Parente, as well as famed Scott Rockenfield (of Queensrÿche) on drums, and Göran Edman (of Yngwie Malmsteen) performing vocals.
God of Sorrow and Grief
An upbeat, peppy guitar riff acts as the intro for this album. The catchy vocal melodies and harmonies soon become the focus of attention. The soaring chorus is similar to what one would expect in a power metal song. The drumming is not extremely technical, but it feels fresh and fits perfectly for the type of song. Scott knows when to hit light and when to smack hard, creating a multi-dimensional drum performance that can sometimes be longed for in heavier music, due to many drummers focusing on technical ability and speed over everything else. As is the case with many of the upcoming tracks on this album, this is a slightly simplistic tune that lasts long enough to feel satisfying without being overly lengthy.
This song has a very quick beginning, with the vocals coming in within seconds of the track starting. Harmonies are even more present in this song, and add an extra layer of depth. The band captures the vibe of a classic rock track, creating a sense of nostalgia. The two guitar solos, performed by Dario and then Walter, accentuate that vibe, by having an interesting progression without being played at a breakneck speed. I really enjoyed the lyrics to this track. There is no attempt to hide the theme, but it also doesn’t beat the listener over the head with it.
A bluesy, classic vibe encompasses this track. It slightly reminds me of the recent Winery Dogs record. The vocals and melodies once again draw you in, but, unlike Primetime, the lyrics are overly cheesy. However, the band is definitely still channeling the 80s rock vibe, with lines like, “Sweet black leather drenched in nicotine.” The harmonized guitar solos once again sound great for this style of music.
Starting with a sampled piece of spoken dialogue, this song is a slow, light rock song. I don’t care for the vocal melodies, as they don’t sound quite right, such as in the line, “I just want to cling to the ceiling.” This is the second shortest track on the album, thankfully. The idea was good, but the execution didn’t deliver.
The Backstabbers Around Us
This is another song that starts with a sample, this time with thunder. This song returns to the rock-style found in the first three tracks, but most definitely has a heavier feel. It is closer to a metal style. The vocals again sound great, making the previous (and next) track a strange discrepancy. It is still hard to take lyrics like, “The lightning strikes as my T-top bites,” seriously. The final solo, performed by Dario at the five minute mark, is really good. The vibe completely changes for the solo, and I wish the whole song would have been built around it. Overall, this is a decent track that I could see easily being played in a western or sports bar.
This might attempt to be classified as a true metal song, as the heavy guitar and deep, almost raspy vocals can attest. However, Göran’s vocal style here truly doesn’t appeal to me. The part of the chorus starting with, “Don’t Lie…” sounds slightly forced in terms of its tone. The section sounds similar to the Suicidal Tendencies song Institutionalized. Luckily, the whole album doesn’t sound similar to this track.
This album could definitely be more consistent, as this title track can be put into the “Pretty Good” column, unlike Calf Love and Be Myself. I can hear a little bit of Boston and The Who. The song has an ironically upbeat tone considering the lyrics are about a bad relationship split. There is some good musicality here, as everything fits nicely and feels right.
Sink Deep in a Fairytale
This song is another more metal track, with a terrific intro that contains some progressive elements. The vocals sound on point, especially during the chorus. As might have been expected from the name of the song, the lyrics have a slightly cartoonish style to them that do fit the song, but don’t allow for the message to be taken seriously. “I’m the knight to save you from the dragons of your nightmare.” The analogy works, but it is hard to take that as a serious statement. Regardless of the lyrical quality and theme, however, this is still one of the better tracks on the album.
No Happy Ending
This song feels like a blend of David Bowie, Electric Light Orchestra, and Yes. Quite a strange combo, but it works. By far, this is the most progressive track of the album, although it still doesn’t venture very far in prog territory. The alternating solos between Walter and Dario that eventually close out the track are exciting and fresh. There is a creativity found in the solos on this album that I wish would have also been present elsewhere.
As Tears Go By
The final track of the album is a ballad with some extremely beautiful vocals. The Beatles definitely had some influence on this particular song. Although it is the shortest track found on the album, it is also one of the best. It is certainly an interesting way to close an album, considering the hard rock nature of nearly every other track.
This was not the album one might initially expect when they see that members of Yngwie Malmsteen and Queensrÿche are part of the band. With a couple of exceptions, Growing Apart is a straight up hard rock album that sounds to be right out of the 1980s. The nostalgia factor is awesome, but slightly more evolution in the band’s style could have improved the album even more. There are definitely elements of creativity to be found here, especially in the guitar solos, but a lack of originality can be found throughout some of the album. This could have been an amazing album had the creative juices flowed unhindered. This is a decent hard/rock metal album, and I hope the band can improve based upon their experience with this record.
You can check out the band on their official website.
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