Without hearing a note or looking up Head Wound City, you’d want them to be heavy as shit. With a brutal sounding band name and a debut LP called ‘A New Wave of Violence’ it would be mighty disappointing to discover that HWC were a synth-pop collective wouldn’t it? Suffice to say, HWC are heaviness personified but you’d expect that from a group made up of members from The Blood Brothers (Jordan Blilie and Cody Votolato) Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Nick Zinner), The Locust/Cattle Decapitation (Gabe Serbian) and Justin Pearson, who according to Vice/Noisey, is known for his work in every band ever to obnoxiously violate your eardrums.
The quintet have been knocking about since 2005 and have one EP to their name but it’s taken until now to bash out a debut LP. ‘A New Wave of Violence’ is a solidified sound of rage, it’s the noise of a disenfranchised generation going down but putting up a fight and taking down as many as fuckers as they can. HWC have coalesced the notion of almost uncontrollable anger; the sort of discontent born from Donald Trump becoming US President (if such a terrible thing would ever happen – we can’t be that dumb can we?) or the unhinged fury/despair that comes with every 24hr rolling newsfeed depicting widespread terror and disorder. Jordan Blilie sums it up best “I started to wonder if humans are inherently violent, or if violence is the inevitable result of the systems of power we put in place”. ‘A New Violence of Wave’ is the soundtrack to the bloodied scenes after the human race has finally torn itself apart.
The five-way super threat of HWC brings to the table music’s most brutal outposts. Metal, goth and all permutations of punk and hardcore are thrown in the mix resulting in ‘A New Wave of Violence’s harsh bludgeoning. It’s not all straight forward head down noise though, the five piece shift through awkward time signatures and unfurl into discordant angular territories. Although their debut album’s appeal rests on the tracks that go straight for the jugular. ‘I Wanna be your Original Sin’, ‘Closed Casket’ and ‘Palace of Love and Hate’ are fierce smash and grabs; a flurry of frazzled hybrid hardcore that just about reaches the one-minute mark. When HWC aren’t against the clock the likes of ‘Avalanche in Heaven’ and closer ‘Love is Best’ are given the time to expand into deeper furrows. They still maintain the record’s intense assault but adding in some extra textures and moments of calm before the inevitable apocalyptic fallout decimates the album’s final moments.
Akin to being smacked over the head with a blunt instrument, ‘A New Wave of Violence’ is shock to the system but a welcome and thrilling one.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams