Sep 062023

Hailing from Thessaloniki in Greece, Head Cleaner are a prime example of a death/grind band that’s criminally underrated.

Over the last two decades they’ve made eight official releases, including three albums, a pair of EPs, and two split albums with other well-known bands from the local and European scene.

They’ve also shared the stage with some of the most influential bands of the genre, such as Carcass, Extreme Noise Terror, Benediction, Pestilence, and many more, in addition to performing at festivals such as Obscene Extreme in the Czech Republic, Bloodshed in the Netherlands, and NRW Death Fest in Germany.

And yet there’s still a sense that, especially here in North America, not enough people have been exposed to their formidable capabilities. With a bit of good luck, that will change with the September 8 release of their eye-popping new album The Extreme Sound Of Truth.

In the steadfast tradition of grindcore, most of the new songs last two minutes or less, with all 11 of them inflicting their damage in less than 25 minutes total.

All of the songs are ferocious, though Head Cleaner do create variations among them to create a dynamic experience. They open with “Cold Machines”, offering up a febrile bass line that leads into a punishing display of riffing that rabidly roils, menacingly swarms, ruthlessly slashes, and brazenly blares, all of it backed by drums that batter, tumble, and blast like weapons.

Even from that description of just one song, you’ll get the accurate idea that Head Cleaner pack a lot of changes within each quick song, in addition to the variations among them. What doesn’t vary is the raw, red-throated barbarism of the howling vocals, which provide a through-line of vitriol and venom.

Other songs on the album are in league with “Cold Machines” as hard-charging barrages of electrifying violence and derangement — the utterly berserk quartet of “Mass Production Dream”, “Among the Living Dead”, “Call Me Uncivilized”, and “7 Sisters” are among those — though in many of the songs the band also intersperse hard-grooved, heavyweight slugging within their paroxysms of fleet-fingered, tremolo-picked guitar madness, with “System of Perversity” and “Bread and Circuses”, and “Pathetic Champions” being prime examples of that.

“Bread and Circuses”, “7 Sisters”, and the jolting “Not Like All Of You” are also examples of Head Cleaner turning the mood in very bleak and desperate directions, whereas in “For Tomorrow’s Lesson” the band also ease back on the throttle and turn up the dissonance to create an experience that’s hallucinatory and unsettling, but also capable of stomping a listener into the pavement (that song also includes the most unorthodox and interesting drumwork on the album).

What becomes clear, from the beginning straight through to the crazed devastation and cold creepiness of closing track “Nothing But the Truth”, is that for an album that’s as mean, maniacal, and marauding as this one is, Head Cleaner display impressive levels of technical virtuosity and songwriting intricacy.

For those reasons, and others noted above, this isn’t an album that ever causes the mind to wander, and as soon as it ends there’s an enormous temptation to re-start it right away. See for yourselves:

Jim “Mitch” Evgenidis – Vocals
Costas Chatzizamanis – Guitars
Lefteris Kasmiris – Bass
Bill Stavrianidis – Drums

The Extreme Sound Of Truth was produced by Head Cleaner; engineered and recorded by Theodosis Vlachos and Simos Lazaridis at SkleroticLab studio in Thessaloniki; mixed by Simos Lazaridis; and mastered by Bri Doom at Black Cloud studio in England. It includes artwork, design, and photos by Jim Evgenidis.

The record is available for pre-order on vinyl now:



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