Headhunter – Parasite Of Society (2008)

Headhunter – Parasite Of Society (2008, Candlelight Records)

  1. 3rd Man (introduction)
  2. Parasite Of Society
  3. Silverskull
  4. Remission
  5. Doomsday For The Prayer
  6. 18 And Life
  7. Read My Lips
  8. Backs To The Wall
  9. Egomaniac
  10. The Calling
  11. Payback Time
  12. Rapid Fire (Judas Priest cover)

Band Lineup:
Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer – Vocals, Bass
Uwe “Schmuddel” Hoffmann – Guitar
Jorg Michael – Drums

Total Time = 49:10

Headhunter official website
Headhunter MySpace page
Candlelight Records USA

PARASITE OF SOCIETY is the first Headhunter album since 1994 and marks a reunion 10 years in the making. Headhunter started out back in 1990 when Schmier left the band he founded, Thrash pioneers Destruction. Almost immeadiately, Schmier enlisted Uwe Hoffmann and Jorg Michael to form Headhunter, a band that would blend the frenzy of Thrash with the technical melodic prowess of Power Metal. Headhunter released 3 albums during the ’90s but broke up as Schmier returned to Destruction in 1998. 10 years later…..here we are…..

The music here is more German Power Metal than Thrash and definitely sounds like ’90s Metal. If I had to compare the band’s sound I would definitely list Destruction for the Thrash element and vocals but comparisons to U.D.O., Rage, Running Wild, Sacred Steel, and Grave Digger can be found. Schmier’s vocals are rough and harsh with a touch of the melodic, he’s not going to win any best singer awards but he is a unique force behind the mic. The backline of Schmier’s thrashy bass and Jorg Michael’s rapid fire drums really provide a solid punch. Michael has been in some of some very successful bands like the aforementioned Rage, Running Wild, and Grave Digger but he has also lent his drum style to Heavy Metal legends Saxon and Stratovarius so you know there is serious talent behind the kit. What makes Headhunter shine is the guitarwork and Uwe Hoffman really shreds all over this album, he has a cool sense of melody while he solos and lays down some killer Power Metal riffs.

Out of 12 songs there are two covers: Skid Row’s ’18 & Life’ and Judas Priest’s ‘Rapid Fire’. Let’s get these out of the way because I hate it when bands put unnecessary covers on new albums. Except for the solo, ’18 & Life’ is terrible but so is the original! This is probably one of the worst cover songs I’ve heard in a long time but the band redeems themselves with a solid run through ‘Rapid Fire’ that is straight up Metal. (My copy is the advance without ‘Rapid Fire’, I was able to find it streaming online for a listen.) Honestly, I could do without both in return for one or two more originals.

There are 10 originals on PARASITE OF SOCIETY and the first song, ‘3rd Man Introduction’, is a quick 30 second instrumental that slams headfirst into the Thrash power of the title track that has some frantic, speedy riffs. ‘Silverskull’ has more of a slower heavy groove to it until the chorus where it picks up again. I like how the guitar mirrors the chorus and has a chance to solo after each one but the vocals throw the song off a little…..’Silverskull’ could easily be a Primal Fear song with a change at the singer slot. I like the opening to ‘Remission’, very slow and haunting guitar lines open the song and follows into a doom laden main riff with Schmier going from a more melodic clean style to screams and growls. Listen to Jorg’s drums just crash all over this song, especially just before the revved up solo break. This is probably my favorite song of the record.

‘Doomsday For The Prayer’ is a fast neckbreaker that has more to do with the Destruction Thrash style while ‘Read My Lips’ burns with a speed demon main riff and pounding drums while Schmier screams over the top. It sounds a little too frantic but it all seems to come together. When I saw the title ‘Backs To The Wall’ I thought I was going to get a third cover, this time of Saxon, but thankfully it’s an original song. It opens with a drum intro, moving on to a bass highlight and settles into a mid-pace Metal march. I believe that is a sitar that opens ‘Egomaniac’ for all of 10 seconds until the song kicks into high speed with both Michael and Hoffmann duelling each other to see who is faster. ‘The Calling’ could easily be an U.D.O. stomper while ‘Payback Time’ finds a way to bring the pain with powerful riffs. There’s a break towards the end of the song where the band shows their comedic side by busting into a little Muppets action which also has a metallized passage that leads to a quick drum solo, this whole endeavor goes for a couple of minutes.

Bottom Line:
If you like straight forward Traditional Metal that blends Power and Thrash together then this is for you. If you are a fan of German Heavy Metal, then this is a combination of all different styles and bands. What I like about PARASITE OF SOCIETY is that Headhunter creates a collection of songs that sound raw but full of balls and fury. The band isn’t breaking any new ground with the retro ’90s sound but the album is a bit refreshing with the current trends in Power Metal going towards more orchestration and melodic passages. The album is full of great music, especially the guitars, but the vocals may throw people off. Schmier’s vocals may not be in the same league as Roy Khan (Kamelot), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), or Joacim Cans (Hammerfall) but the guy comes out and just sings with aggression, kind of sounds to me as a cross between Anvil’s Lips and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) with a little more screams and growls.

Favorite Songs: ‘Remission’, ‘Silverskull’, ‘Backs To The Wall’

Press Release: Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Part 2) artwork, tracklisting, release dates, and U.S. tour announced

From Bravewords.com:

SPV Records will issue Iced Earth’s new album, The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Part II), on the following dates:

– Germany, Austria, Switzerland: September 5th, 2008
– United Kingdom and Europe: September 8th, 2008
– USA and Canada: September 9th, 2008

The album will feature the following tracklisting: ‘In Sacred Flames’, ‘Behold The Wicked Child’, ‘Minions Of The Watch’, ‘The Revealing’, ‘A Gift Or A Curse’, ‘Crown Of The Fallen’, ‘The Dimensional Gauntlet’, ‘I Walk Alone’, ‘Harbinger Of Fate’, ‘Crucify The King’, ‘Sacrificial Kingdoms’, ‘Something Wicked (Part 3)’, ‘Divide And Devour’, ‘Come What May’, ‘Epilogue’.

Following a series of European festival dates throughout the summer, Iced Earth will embark on a North American tour in September. Dates include:

21 – Detroit, MI – Harpo’s
22 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
23 – Montreal, QC – Le Medley
24 – Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero
25 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
26 – Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southbend
27 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage (Prog Power USA IX)
28 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues Orlando
29 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
30 – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues

14 – Norfolk, VA – The Norva
15 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
16 – New York, NY – Nokia Theater
22 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
23 – San Francisco, CA – Regency Center at The Grand Ballroom
24 – Los Angeles, CA – The Avalon

Heavy Metal In Baghdad DVD (2008)

Heavy Metal In Baghdad (2008, Vice Films)

  • Main documentary (84 mins)
  • Bonus material (88 mins)

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 2 hrs 52 mins)

Acrassicauda is:
Marwan – Drums
Firas – Bass
Tony – Guitars
Faisal – Lead Vocals & Guitars

Heavy Metal In Baghdad
Acrassicauda MySpace page

Heavy Metal In Baghdad is the story of Iraqi Heavy Metal pioneers Acrassicauda. Directors Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi turned their attention to Acrassicauda based on a magazine article that chronicled the Metal scene in Iraq as the regime of Saddam Hussein fell in 2003. The film follows the band from 2004 through 2007 as they try to find a way to survive and keep their Heavy Metal dreams alive in their war-torn homeland.

The documentary shows a history of the band from their early beginnings in 2000-2001 up until early 2007, depicting not only their struggles as a Metal band but also as human beings. One of the most striking things about the film was the real look inside devastated Baghdad that Alvi & Moretti made sure they captured. Seeing the destruction, danger and despair from a different angle than what we are shown on the U.S. news brought everything down to earth. The band is more than a Metal band, they are just regular people and all they want is to have the freedom to live. Their is a bond among the members and their family that is pure and their only goal is to find a better life somewhere…..all the while missing the country, and family, they left behind. The film follows the band from Iraq to Syria then to Turkey as each new challenge to survival means relocating. Everyday brings new problems, new hassles, in an effort to make a better life. Shows you just how lucky we are here in the U.S.! There is music on this DVD too, it’s not all doom and gloom. Their is footage from various gigs over the years, as well as the band in the studio during their first recording session, makes you remember that this is about a band. These guys love Heavy Metal…..they like to play it, listen to it, and live it.

Bottom Line:
The basic premise of the film is to show how Acrassicauda has survived with their lives turned inside-out by the war that has ravaged their country for the last few years. The band is more than a band, more than simply Iraqis…..they are people with hopes, dreams, and ambitions and a specific desire to have a better life. I have to give the directors credit for bonding with the band and their families and trying everything they can to help them. This DVD is a step in the right direction for the awareness of the plight of millions of innocent Iraqi people as told through a Heavy Metal band’s survival. Definitely a must see and one of the best Metal documentaries I’ve seen. It’s a bit more political and focused on the effects of the war than on actual music but it is a fascinating and riveting story.

If you go to the Heavy Metal In Baghdad website, there is a link for donations that go directly to the effort to help the band continue their daily survival and quest for a stable life.