Album Review: Pale Heads – Headless

This is some sort of sick, twisted joke, right? You pull in the naive, gullible punter with a headline like, “Members of Batpiss, The Nation Blue, Pairs, Bang! Bang! Aids!, Harmony, and The Drones team up for a ball-tearer of a record”, and then when the idiot is sitting with a target painted on their dumb head, you hit ’em with the pyramid scheme. If it worked for Bernie Madoff, it can work for any regular attendee of the Tote.

But it’s not a pyramid scheme. It’s not even misleading advertising! What it says in that sentence above is exactly what is delivered. You unsuspecting punter, you; you’re not prepared, nay, worthy, of something of this magnitude! It’s comparable to the time that Wayne and Garth met Alice Cooper – we are just simply not worthy!

‘Headless’ is the Shamwow of albums – not only does it have a flashy byline that forces you to purchase the product, but it actually delivers on all its promises. It will decapitate you – the shorter songs on here are brutal and cut-throat, bloody and savage beasts of noise and metallic punk. Songs like “Pale Head”, “I Can’t Lose You” and “Devotion” detonate, guttural punctures of bass, jackhammering drums and guitars that flay and punish.

They’re straight-forward chargers, galloping down their two-minute time frames like a greyhound at the track gnashing its hungry teeth an inch away from the rabbit. These kinds of songs launch right to the top of the “Go-To Songs to Play When Trying To Impress People Better Than You List”. If there’s a person in your life that looks at your music taste with a sigh of repulsion every time you press play, melt their goddamn face off with something like “Transitioning Out”. If they’re not headbanging within the first five seconds, then they’re a shitstain on the pair of tighty-whities that is your life. They’re not worth keeping around, so reach for the bleach, and rub them out.


The latter half of ‘Headless’ is where things get interesting. Whilst hinted at on the earlier “Milk Eyes”, things take a turn for the deliriously noisy. “The Pits” and “Headless” plunging into the sort of hell ride shredders that sound like Career Suicide escaping from a thousand year slumber, and are ready to unleash even more hell than they were already capable of. The result isn’t just ear-bleeding, but down-right sacrilegious to the concept of ‘quiet’.

The one comment to make about this record is that it can feel disjointed. Each member contributes equally with their own unique style – the encompassing brutality of Thomy Sloane, the passion of Xiao Zhong, the towering ferocity of Tom Lyngcoln and the tangled ocker snarl of Rui Periera. However, it’s obvious when each member is taking over and playing “their song” –  rather than a full album, it can occasionally feel as though a collection of singular ideas have been collected under the banner of making something really brutal.

Not that it really damages the overall record – you listen to the album, and you’re still awed by the fact that something like this exists. It’ll destroy your ears and heighten your expectations, leaving you as deaf as you are spellbound. Pale Heads deliver a record only they are capable of delivering – when you get that much talent in a room together, the ensuing product can only be something that will ruin your ability to listen in the same capacity again.

Pale Heads will rock not one, but TWO shows this weekend in Sydney. DO NOT MISS THESE, as not only are Pale Heads going to throw out any feeling between your earholes, but they’ve pulled together a few lineups of Sydney’s finest! On Friday, 12 June, they’ll play The Record Crate in Glebe, with Yes, I’m Leaving, Mr. Sterile Assembly (NZ) and Dead Farmers. Saturday night, they’ll be at Blackwire with Burlap, Roland Major and Dispolar! Pick up ‘Headless’ from one of the shows, or the Poison City Bandcamp here.


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