Although including a former member of AS I LAY DYING and current member of WOVENWAR, POISON HEADACHE are an entirely different prospect to either of these two bands. With mixing handled by Taylor Young, producer of NAILS and TWITCHING TONGUES and mastering handled by Brad Borlach, BLACK BREATH’s producer, this lineup alone should give an idea of the angle that Poison Headache takes. Rooted amongst more modern power violence such as BLACK BREATH and traditional crossover hardcore, Poison Headache lacks any of the polish of Sgrosso’s other projects. Focussing mainly on a grinding and punishing take on crossover hardcore there is still room for considerable nuance in POISON HEADACHE’S self-titled debut.
Although the likes of Sin Eater and the final grind of album closer Discloser confirm the mastery of POISON HEADACHE in grinding crossover hardcore this is further moulded this with a progressive leaning on tracks such as Gray Skies or Benumbed where more ambient guitars build atmosphere above the violence. Performing as a three piece contributes significantly to Poison Headaches appeal. There are very few unnecessary flourishes in the compositions so that when POISON HEADACHE decide to add in more grandiose elements such as on the aforementioned Gray Skies there’s a real impact to it.
The production of POISON HEADACHE is also outstanding. Bringing the most prominent element of each section to the fore so that when it grinds through those thrashy grooves that it does so well these judder out the speakers but when the compositions reign the violence in a bit and include more expansive, progressive elements it is these moments that take centre stage. It’s a really excellent job that
The only complaints are that Poison Headache never really delivers the sort of colossal highs that truly great albums need. But that is an extremely churlish point considering this release does its job as a debut perfectly. The self-titled record firmly established POISON HEADACHE’S musical identity and neither overstays its welcome nor exhibits any particularly dislikeable traits.
Poison Headache is out now via Metal Blade Records.
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