Jul 282021


(Nathan Ferreira provides this introduction to our premiere of another track off the debut album by Headshrinker, with additional insights into the album as a whole.)

I had been sleeping on the promo materials for Callous Indifference waiting for me in my mailbox, not fully compelled to listen. The album art is subtle and understated, the band logo a plain font, and the “OSDM meets Death/Doom with mathy dissonance” descriptor used in the email title was kinda intriguing but also not unheard of either.

That they feature Havok’s drummer doesn’t move the needle for me (I’m not too familiar with them, and as such don’t know Pete Webber’s style), and I wasn’t acquainted with Polyptych, the more progressive black metal styled group the other three members previously played in. Because of the volume of promotional materials I sift through to find the golden riff nuggets, my brain can become fried by similar descriptors across emails, and Callous Indifference just happened to have surface aesthetics that got lost in the shuffle.

But then, head honcho Islander gave a premiere of “The Burn of Indifference”, first Headshrinker song released to the public. That article was just the push I needed to dive into this band further, and I am very thankful I did. (I was a fan and reader of this site well before I contributed to it, after all).



Sure enough, an opportunity came to introduce another track in advance, and I just couldn’t help but double down on this incredible new album. I almost missed Callous Indifference myself, and I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake.

Within five seconds of a track like “The Burn of Indifference” or “Wretched Soul”, you realize why the trio of Young Werther, Scott Skopec and Frank Lato decided to change their name following their joining of forces with the aforementioned Webber. His drumming style gives things a distinct flavor right off the bat, with a straightforward approach to aggression that still feels full and rounded out. In addition, the buzzsaw-esque guitar tone mixed with the blunt force in the riffing is far too different from the multi-directional progression of Polyptych. A tense, uncomfortable aggression replaces what were previously more grand and high-minded expressions.

The beauty emerges once you’re well into the back half of the album and realize that all the hammering rage that is being so precisely channeled and expelled on Callous Indifference is couched within thoughtful, evocative songwriting. In shifting the focus to a more reflective, self-contained despair (which makes sense, as the album’s lyrical themes revolve around struggles with mental health), the emotion springing out of Headshrinker feels boundless. The unhinged songwriting and shrill, disconcerting dissonance lends a lot of this weight, with slight Pyrrhon-esque mathy influences coming out of the woodwork and making their presence felt. Because of the variety of tempos and disparate influences, “death/doom” doesn’t feel like the proper tag, even though it’s technically correct – “despair metal” would be a more fitting description.


Young Werther and Pete Webber

Headshrinker are undoubtedly skilled musicians, but they’re covert in how they showcase their abilities. This isn’t the kind of thing that is going to boggle your mind with the sheer volume of notes packed into a song; it takes at least two or three listens before you’re awestruck by the intricacy and attention to detail. Callous Indifference doesn’t have a single moment on a single track that feels superfluous – especially the sparser sections used as bridges to build atmosphere. They initially appear to provide you release from the gnashing forces only to take you deeper down a creepy and uncomfortable rabbit hole.

That’s the full album experience, though. You unfortunately won’t get to hear it for about a month. To give you a taste of what’s in store, we’ve got a premiere of another song from Callous Indifference locked and loaded: “Suffocating Tomb”, the second to last track on the album.

The song is the final fit of rage before the eventual winding climax. If this album symbolizes “the strength to battle through when the outlook is at its bleakest”, as described by the band, “Suffocating Tomb” is the precise moment when it feels like everything is lost and blind, and directionless rage is the only feeling that is present.

The drums pummel relentlessly and the metallic plunk of the bass combines to create a meaty, yet scarily precise and sharp, attack, subtly augmenting the groove to get you headbanging at a few different tempos. The main drop in the song is highlighted by an abstruse melody that almost becomes catchy with its uncatchiness, if that makes sense? It’s distinct, and that’s what gives it the flavor more than the appeal of the melody itself… either way, it gets stuck in your head. On top of everything, the growls of Young Werther have an underrated power and presence, with a primal energy to the lows and an understated versatility in tones that helps to push the sensations felt to even more harrowing heights.



Callous Indifference comes out August 27, 2021. Headshrinker cite influences ranging from Akercocke, Triptykon, and Celtic Frost to Chelsea Wolfe, and recommend their music for fans of Pyrrhon, Ulthar, Tomb Mold, Dismembered, and Diskord.




  1. The drums and the riffs on this album are stellar. I love this album. I’ve already submitted my review for the site for which I write. Also, you should check out Polyptych. It’s good stuff. I get heavy Dismember vibes from this album, mixed with the sort of dissonant, discordant metal of, say, Ulcerate.

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