Headless Pez – Carpe Verpa

Drowning themselves in the Manowar aesthetic in their lyrics and in the overall feeling of their compositions. The music is caught between early Slayer/mercyful Fate with hints of Exodus. Headless Pez may be very tongue in cheek with their ridiculous look and their Manowar turned up to 11 gimmick but this album shows glimpses of something greater.

The guitars though recorded digitally manage to capture the sound of yesteryear through this use of a scooped tone and the subtle use of effects. The bass rumbles against the drums and does not quite tuck itself into the guitar tone and focuses on creating a bridge between the drums and the guitars. The drums retain the bounciness of Rock drums with the double bass having some extra kick within the mid frequencies that add to the energy of the album. The vocals alternate between the shrieks of King Diamond, low pitched Bay Area style and other vocal techniques of the time. They are effective in creating melodies on top of this NWOBHM inspired album but the gruffer vocals often sound bland during the verses.

The arrangements straddle between the narrative arrangements of Don’t Break the Oath and the extended pop arrangements of the Bay Area bands. The lyrical matter deals with metal clichés in a humorous manner but are stale and involve jokes around Satan,sex,the glory of metal and name referencing various lyrics,bands and albums. The compositions will tend to begin with a fast paced Speed metal riff that then progresses before leading to a chorus and then leading to another passage before either returning back to the verse or blasting on towards a good solo or a boring Thrash breakdown. Every melody and riff has already been heard in similar arrangements and form but Headless Pez avoid the Extreme metal aspirations of their influences by returning to the safe haven of more standard Heavy metal. This stops the band from distancing themselves from other retro bands though they have a greater understanding of the material than their peers which is unfortunate as the music which is derivative but with much more integrity and passion does impress. The band manages to slightly shake expectations through great note selection and coherent melodies that transmit tension and release all their momentum into the final chorus.

The jokey nature of the band at times tend to interfere with the music through weird vocal passages and the general refusal to take themselves seriously. If this trio can get rid of the comedy and use their extensive knowledge and technical abilities to reach new paths within this well established shell they have confined themselves in, then they may innovate the Heavy metal style. For now “Seize the Penis” sounds like a band too scared to truly dig deep to outdo themselves. A fun yet frustrating album that deserves a few listens but keeps the listener wishing for more.

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