Release date: 20-04-2023
Headless Hunter is a 5-piece thrash-metal band from Eindhoven. They are guaranteed to fuck up the stage live, with a ton of energy and a great live set. For that reason, the band was picked to compete and get to the semifinals for the Dutch Wacken Metal Battle this year. The band has been working on this debut album the past two years. With two album release shows upcoming, we’re looking forward to a lot of moshing to these new tracks. However, there are a lot of thrash metal bands, even in the Netherlands, so we are curious to see how Headless Hunter sets itself apart. What makes them unique? And more importantly, do we like this album?
The Undertaker opens with a short interlude track, The Hunt. With some samples laid on top and a repeating guitar riff, this is very much the opening track you’d expect. It builds up in energy towards an explosion in the next track. Of course that follows seamlessly (but probably better live on stage) with Hunt ‘em Down. A classic thrash song, with screamy vocals that sound like the vocalist is very angry. Or hurt. Or both. The chord progressions are not very innovative, but with thrash metal that’s usually a good thing. Of course, there are some nice guitar solo’s in this track. The heavy breakdown halfway through the song gives us some room to breathe (and scream ‘Hunt ‘m Down’). It’s just thrashing as it’s supposed to be.
Hostile Takeover starts a bit more mid-tempo, which leaves room for some more intricate guitar riffs in between the chords. After the intro though, we dive headfirst into the moshpit riffs again. The gang vocals make you want to join the band at the party immediately. The same goes for Liberate Your Will. That song starts off as a party song right away. A heavy, brutal party song, that is. Think shredding guitars and circle pits. In the middle of the track is a nice part to prepare for a wall of death, which is inevitable with a band like this. Of course, a few guitar solos couldn’t be missed on a track like this.
Onto a more melodic song with Death’s Defiance. It’s a more classic heavy metal track, however, topped with screamy vocals and gang vocals to give it the thrash metal sauce. There is some heavy grunting in this track as well, for added variety. This is the first song with a true breakdown/bridge. And while I don’t think the song needs a breakdown, the part that follows is the best riff of the album so far.
More thrashy party vibes with ‘Kiko is Stoned’. This is a true party song with bullshit lyrics in dutch. Crowd pleaser for sure, and because of the humor, probably my favorite of the album 😀 It would almost qualify as a Carnavals Kraker (for the Dutch readers).
After that short interlude, on with the title track of this album, The Undertaker. It feels like I’ve already heard this track before, but that’s probably also because it sounds really similar to the tracks we’ve heard before. Nonetheless it’s a nice song to listen to. With over 5 minutes it’s quite long for a thrash song, but Headless Hunter approaches that cleverly by making sure there is a lot of variety within the song, so it doesn’t get boring.
Ill Fated Waters is more straightforward again, however, with interesting riffs. And of course shredding guitar solo’s. Sentenced to Live is again a longer track, and one that surprisingly opens with a guitar solo to show off the bands skills. The track features some classic riffs, but also switches tempo midway through the song, which basically makes it two songs, mashed together.
The final track of the album is The 10th reason. There are some interesting things going on with drums and guitar, and the hoompa-hoompa riffs makes this an interesting track to listen too. It’s almost like a weird audio circus somehow. If you’re looking for a track that makes Headless Hunter unique, this is it. And with the reference to ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ they’ve scored major kudos in my book.
The Undertaker is a great debut album by Headless Hunter. They managed to capture their stage energy and fun on the tracks. Their energy and humor shine through really well, and even though not all songs are very original, it’s still good quality thrash. My personal favorite is Kiko is Stoned because it’s just funny. Most interesting would be The 10th reason. However, the track that summarises this album best is probably The Undertaker. Go check it out for yourself or even better, make sure you catch this band live to experience their energy live.