Kiwi rock stalwarts Head Like A Hole return with a follow up to 2011’s extremely well received revival ‘Blood Will Out’, and it’s everything you’d expect, plus a healthy sprinkling of the unexpected. The Great Wall kicks the album off in epic fashion, with stone-grinding guitar tones and Michael Franklin Browne‘s thunderous drums underpinning the low drone sound. Creedance is set up by a nefarious groove, before the paint stripping vocals of Booga Beazley come to the fore and the classic HLAH sound resonates throughout the track.
Trouble Again and Rotten utilise toothy blues rock riffs, but The Art Of War takes a turn from the tried and true with some unheard sounds and textures, tremolo guitars and a momentous feel. This is a more melodic effort while still retaining the essence of the sound we’ve come to associate with the band, as it revisits the epic tone of The Great Wall. The harmonised lead lines and manic screaming of Maw remind the listener who they were listening to, if there was any doubt, and the syncopated riffing over the 4/4 beat of 7000 Days capitalises on this momentum. Mexico is reminiscent of Butthole Surfers, a sludgey ballad classed up by some dreamy acoustic guitars, and title track Narcocorrido‘s descending rock riffs, as well as some out of the box chord choices for the chorus, once again compliment the full drum sound.
The Rise and Fall of The Sun is rifftastic with a driving bassline and before you can google what ‘Narcocorrido’ means, the album is rounded out by the blues pyschedlia of Sunrise. Captured in the last days of Auckland’s Studio 203 with Andrew Buckton and vocals recorded by Jol Mullholland, this will be rewarding for HLAH fans as it retains the harder edge of ‘Blood Will Out’ while adding to it a touch of the unexpected, in a hard rock context.