Catastrophic Reprieve – The Head, The Heart and The Noose (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I have to confess that I have no idea where one metal genre ends and the next heavy rock pigeon-hole begins. The heavier end of the musical spectrum has always loved its demarcation and divisions, its post-this and that-cores, some people could get very upset about such things, funnily enough though, those people were always in the audience, nevermaking the music. Funny that!

So having come clean about my ignorance of all associated labels and scenes, I’m not sure where The Head, The Heart and the Noose fits in, and frankly, I don’t really care. What I do care about though, is what great music this two-piece (yes, it is merely a four-legged, noise making powering all of this sonic destruction) makes. The music is hard and in-your-face enough to please the metal crowd, melodic enough to catch the ear of the more groove orientated hard rock fraternity, its stops the right side of all that screamo nonsense, it blends the densest alt-rock riffs with the most lethal classic rock moves and then pushes them gleefully over the metal cliff edge, allowing them to gain momentum as they fall to the earth below and land with an unholy and gorgeous crunch that is heard far and wide.

The Head, the opening salvo of the album, gives you a hint that they are smarter than your average metallers, the switch between roaring verses and more melodic counterpoints, as well as the sweet and subtle breakdown that they deliver before racing headlong back to the fray, speaks volumes about the deft way that they build and drop their musical dynamics, the way that they allow the sonics to ebb and flow naturally.

Once Pure, Now Desecrated is the band screaming from the rooftops into a squalling and searing sky, relentless and thoroughly rewarding and Worthless Sabotage has one foot in metal territory, the other in more alt-rock climes. The Heart comes as a nice change of pace, a dreamscape interlude that allows you to prepare for the maelstrom that you know will follow.

And follow it does, I Thought I Could Swim is both melodic and majestic, bombastic and beat-driven to the point of being tribal…primal even… and Too Far Gone feels like a collision of heavy metal weight and hardcore swagger, supercharged and unleashed on the unsuspecting masses. The Noose finally rounds things off in typically uncompromising style.

It’s a long time since I served in the metal trenches and much has changed. But if The Head, The Heart and The Noose represent where the genre today, I might re-enlist. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

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