Old Head [USA]
At War With False Noise Records
Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
American heavy metal/hard rock band Old Head promises to bring back the attitude of 70s heavy metal and thrash metal with their debut full length album, Maximum Rock, a promising title indeed, despite the responsibilities and expectations that come with it. Boasting among its ranks is also Brutal Truth drummer Richard Hoak, further upping the expectations.
The album starts off pretty neatly, with the Jethro Tull cover, Fat Man, and the energy that is present in the band is immediately apparent to the listener, with a modern heavy metal and slight speed metal take to the song, complete with the furious drumming of Richard and the sharp riffs of guitarist Ryan. Bleeder then is the first proper track to display the band’s songwriting style, a catchy and thrashy brand of heavy metal. Each of the members of the band have their moments to shine, from the old-school leads of Ryan to the numerous lead bass spots that are given to Dan as well and the energetic drumming of Richard. Old Head also dares to take the bold step of paying tribute to the old school in the form of including cheesy tracks on the album, such as the anthemic Kill, Kill, Kill, which also sees the band incorporating numerous other elements such as the almost black metal-inspired riff towards the end of the track.
While the band is enthusiastic in displaying their energy through the execution of the songs, there are quite a number of moments where this came across as overly forced, resulting in awkward and messy sounding moments. For example, on tracks like Libertine, the furious, extreme metal/grindcore style of Richard’s drumming certainly sounded out of place when placed among the rest of the instruments, and this is especially evident towards the end of the track. There are also times when the songwriting of the band falters, and this comes in the form of awkward guitar solos like on Ungodly, or simply through the inclusion of messy and overly chaotic moments that spoil potentially good tracks.
The covers that are included on the album though, could please fans of the old school considering the excellent interpretations that the band have given to them. Almost Cut My Hair, for example, sees Old Head giving a nice, heavy albeit slightly chaotic touch (thanks to the drumming of Richard) to the track, and Rock and Roll Doctor is simply a nice track to groove along to. Overall though, Maximum Rock is a rather fun album to listen to, if one were not seeking something overtly serious or technical and something like a heavier version of bands like Velvet Revolver.