- Band / Artist Headspace
- Genre Progressive Rock/Metal
- Label Inside Out Music
- Year 2012
- Format Album
“I Am Anonymous” is the debut full-length from Headspace, which is a British super-group of sorts, comprising of Vocalist Damian Wilson of Threshold, Keyboardist Adam Wakeman of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, Richard Brook live drummer for uhhh...Avril Lavigne (yes, I know, now stop it!), Pete Rinaldi on Guitars and Lee Pomeroy on Bass. After a debut EP in 2007, the band has dropped an 8-track full-length, chockfull of mature, no frills, Progressive Rock/Metal.
“I Am Ominous” opens on a slow-paced, doomy, ominous note; there’s infectious riffing, the orchestral feel of a piano, melodic groove, Power Metal vocals a la Mikael Akerfeldt. The songwriting is intense and groovy. The sudden transitions in tempo are to watch out for. A gem of an album-opener, all in all. “Fall of America” is where you notice that the band is multi-faceted. The music is experimental, the lyrics range from personal struggles, criticism of cultures and humanity, and personal struggles. The song bears testament to the tightness of the band - just goes to show that it really it isn’t necessary to set a genre and write good music accordingly, half the job is done if the band has members as experienced as this lot. On a trivial note Wilson’s vocals seem to remind one of Bruce Dickinson on several occasions. Headspace is a master at dishing out acoustical melodies, as we can see towards the end of the second track during the piano-laden interlude. At a run-time of almost four minutes, “Soldiers” is the shortest track on the record, opening on a soothing note. As is obvious from the title, the song refers to the field-life of a soldier. Then track bases solely on mellow, slow paced works of Wakeman and Wilson. “Die With A Bullet” is poles apart from its predecessor. With an in-your-face groove to start with the track is sure to make some Dream Theater, “visharads” turn tap their foot and nod in appreciation. Rinaldi really shines on this one, although something tells me that this isn’t even a fourth of his chops on the 6-string. Pummeling bass grooves alongside make Pomeroy’s presence felt as well. Truly an ensemble line-up.
“In Hell’s Name” is one track that is bound to rock the hinges off most people. Pay attention how the band drafts from mellow orchestral first half - completely with choir singing, sunday morning church music pianos, and Wilson’s versatile voice bragging off its tenor; enter the best groove on the album. The accompanying sitar layer adds an altogether charm to the track. Off the 5:12 mark - that’s where the magic exists. The band is capable of carving epic soundcapes by chiselling on the walls with Wilson’s pitch-perfect voice. Crashing riffs give way to acoustics, vice-versa; it’s a vicious awe-inspiring cycle.
Just when you thought you have heard it all, “Daddy Fucking Loves You” fills your ears. Based lyrically of a true story as heard by Wilson, the track plays like a gentle lullaby, much to the dismay of those of you who took the track title too literally with Wilson’s soulful voice complemented by Brook and Pomeroy’s drum and bass. But all that is short-lived. Soon Rinaldi starts dirty-dancing on his fret board and all hell breaks loose. With psychedelic keyboard elements, bass grooves thrown into the mix in good measure, the 15 minute juggernaut of a track is where the band comes out guns blazing.
“Invasion”, the seventh track seems like the band’s effort to portray a more contemporary rock sound with simplistic guitar parts, more accessible guitar hooks, but not without the usual virtuoso touch. Ditto for the final track “The Big Day”. The last two might not be on a par with the rest of the tracklist but nevertheless, they do not disappoint entirely. The last track just manages to do enough justice to the record if not wow you from the word go.
Headspace features an ambient/atmospheric driven sound that is serious in nature and feel. Imagine the slower, somnolent elements of Opeth and the fast, groovy and virtuoso elements of Dream Theater thrown into the mixer, and peppered with delicious layers and instruments that do not feature on a Rock record usually. The band caters to a larger audience than they target for, courtesy the acoustic elements and Pop/Indie Rock influenced segments, eg: "Daddy Fucking Loves You". But thankfully they do not stray much from the primary sound on this one. While most of the experimentations on the album hit a home run there is that 1/10th part of the album that makes one feel the album would be better without them.
Given the varied array of bands that have influenced them – starting at Led Zeppelin and stretching all the way to Meshuggah with a lot in between- Headspace’s sound does not go out of the way to impress you. It is standard issue Progressive Rock, with well written song structures, good production quality, crafty and unpretentious band members who play their instruments well. They have got it right down to the level where even the lyrics hold on their own. The band seems to practice what they preach very sincerely, because it is surprising how they dwell in so much under the mainstream radar, if not rock solid anonymity, with an amazing album like “I Am Anonymous” in their kitty. At 8 tracks of length and 73 minutes of playtime the album is a must-have if you are a fan of Modern Progressive Rock.
Pros: The longer the song, the craftier this band gets. A stellar first-effort from the band.
Cons: Not all the experimentations strike the right chord.
An impressive and deserving contender to Dream Theater’s title for being the best Progressive Rock/Metal act out there. Expect dark, lush, progressive epicness.
Arkadeep Deb, as of now is a 20 year old engineering student from Kolkata. When he’s not harmlessly trolling around or watching Two and a Half Men re-runs, he dabbles in all-things-Metal, Photography, Songwriting, Reviews, you name it. While building up his chops in guitar/ vocals as we speak, he’s doing his utmost to represent the genre he loves, protesting social-stereotyping and pigeon-holing of its followers and lending a patient ear to the beloved underground. His first tryst with Metal was 5 years ago, when one fateful day he popped a bootleg SLIPKNOT: SUBLIMINAL VERSES and LAMB OF GOD: ASHES OF THE WAKE split-record in the cd-tray. There has been no looking back ever-since.
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