Headshrinker play old-school death metal that incorporates in varying doses, crushing doom, dark black metal, and intricate technicality. Theirs is an atypical approach to death metal, yet one that still benefits from the raw visceral nature of the style. Imagine a cross between Tomb Mold and Ulthar on one hand, and Pyrrhon and Imperial Triumphant on the other, and you’ll be on the right lines for a decent idea of what this album’s 38 minutes hold.
The old-school and the unconventional sit side by side on Callous Indifference, and it’s a twisted pleasure to observe the results. The classic death metal style that forms the base of the music is augmented surprisingly well by the non-standard, almost experimental aspects that the band use. The end result is a collection of compelling and rewarding songs that mix warped dissonance with classic structures and an Immolation-esque talent for slithering riffs and serpentine melodies.
The band channel their own form of controlled chaos well, using it to craft songs that work much better than you might expect from the clash of worlds that the band explores. That they bring their various influences together so well is testament to their songwriting skill and their vision for their material.
The songs are enjoyable and satisfying. I very much like the strange, jagged rhythms and winding flow that the music has. All of the instruments are worthy of praise, although the drums in particular stand out as offering a lot more than those of your average death metal act. I’ll also single out some of the eerie, unsettling sounds and melodies that occasionally play in the background, as these are especially well-delivered and effective.
Headshrinker offer an unusual, yet top quality concoction made from equal parts brutality, atmosphere, and dark emotion. Callous Indifference is a foul mutant success, and I urge you not to miss out on its idiosyncratic charms.