(Christopher Luedtke reviews a new EP by the Vegas band HeadGore, which just dropped yesterday. Prepare to have your head gored.)
The state of music today is a frankly daunting and overwhelming landscape. In the last few years alone so many sounds have been converged, soldered, and brought together by odd arcane alchemy in very quick succession. And as this internet experiment slouches onward at lightspeed it becomes increasingly more impossible to hear it all at once, much less in individual doses. It is a thought that crosses my mind as I listen to Las Vegas, NV nocore unit HeadGore. There is a lot going on and going down, and their latest EP A MEAL FIT FOR GOD is a snapshot into the alchemy of everything.
HeadGore has been putting out bizarre iterations of grind, cybergrind, death metal, and electronic music since their 2019 split with Shitnoise Bastards. At once they are primarily a band that fits into the grind category. They do blasts, and the music is fast and noisy, but they very easily transition into the noisecore/noisegrind categories, but then will also flip a track into an electronic break or turn it into an uncomfortable, swampy melodic section. The nature of things seems to be not confining or boxing oneself in, hence nocore. And this latest release A MEAL FIT FOR GOD is the band at their most experimental yet.
One could think of this album like Haggus meets Mamaleek. It’s fuzzy, heavy, and blown-out, but completely unafraid of getting weird. Complete with a case file theme to go with the EP, HeadGore push themselves wherever the four winds blow. This release leans more into a sludgy sound with thicker riffs and an emphasis on noise. It’s got that greasy feel to the distortion that mince is known for as well, and even borders a little on sounding like Water Torture or Fluids.
“An Unexpected Stench” opens with delay and some noise, setting the stage before HeadGore turn the scene into an odd, ominous mood. The guitar sounds like it’s playing melody with a slide, the bass is thick and soupy, and the drums feel oddly calm as the vocals bark at us. The crime scene is established, but what remains of evidence? Well, “Grisly Images Caked in Blood” takes us into a more grind/mince/noisegrind state and get everything feeling a little more aggressive. The track backs down a bit but keeps the listener on their toes.
These two tracks alone should show that HeadGore do not care to play within any conventions. They would rather see us squirm or lose our heads in a Lovecraftian sanity spiral. Other tracks like “A House That Seems to Breathe” is half a breakcore/EDM track sprinkled with noise that would be at home in the short-lived XO Skeletons discography. Meanwhile, “A Wall Pulls Me Under, The Window Turns To Look At Me.” is an ominous reading over moody, melodic music that turns back to the barking vocals but sticks with its horror atmosphere. And to finish, the band end on a cover of Mortician‘s “Worms.”
A MEAL FIT FOR GOD is HeadGore continuing their streak of oddness. The songs are oddly structured, and the focus is to be unnerving. As far as I’m concerned it is a mission accomplished for them. If horror-leaning experimental grind/noise/mince is a thing you have been waiting for, then brother, sister, other, this has been tailor-made for you a la Ed Gein’s farmhouse shed.