Review – Poison Headache: Poison Headache

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  • Bio: "Although Poison Headache officially formed following the demise of hardcore act Internal Affairs, the trio [...] had been playing shows together since high school." - Facebook
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
  • Genre: Crossover, Death Metal, Hardcore
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Following the demise of Internal Affairs, the three-headed beast known as Poison Headache was forged from the depths of San Diego, California. Featuring vocalist/guitarist Andy Kukta, vocalist/guitarist/bassist Phil Sgrosso (Wovenwar), and drummer Kyle Rosa, the new outing takes a violent look at the crossover thrash and hardcore world. To preach their brand of bedlam, they recorded their self-titled debut at The Pit, run by Taylor Young of Nails and Twitching Tongues

Actually, it’s a superb mixture of the two. Poison Headache has a nice d.i.y. indie sound that is as abrassive as any cheese grater being forcefully run across your face while your sadistic side keeps telling you how much you’re loving it and to not let it stop. However, that said, it isn’t exsactly a cheap sounding production either. Every aspect of the release still comes through crisp and digital, only adding more venom to the already potent rawer concoction of anger, hostility, even gloom and forboding atmospheres this trio naturally brings with them. Given the past of each member and how they have all worked together in one form or another over the years, it all winds up one cohesive machine that’s been in operation for years but still as pissed off as a fresh act out for blood.

“Sin Eater” hits the listener hard with plenty of bulky, bass heavy riffs against a plethora of furious two-step and steady attitude driven grooves. The sandpaper vocals with a hint of distortion amplify the xeroxed homemade cassette sensation of the compositions perfectly before slowing to a briefly eerie bridge prior to a stunning guitar solo with just a hint of southern backgrond behind it. Think Agnostic Front crossed with the aggressive tendencies of Carnal Forge or Cretin and you’ll get a good idea of what to expect, especially with “Rot with Me” and it’s more death metal and grindcore influenced verses. The whole piece is nothing but one abusively forboding riff after another when not slamming you face first into the concrete when things tread back into the realm of authoritive.

While both of those are a good way to sum up the majority of this effort, it’s far from all the variety Poison Headache bring to the table. “Gray Skies” has a number of melodic segments that play up a grim environment to match that very title, all the while keeping within the unruly aggression they’ve established throughout the release. Even the conclusion of “Never. Again.” paints some darkened landscapes along a somewhat depressing track. Then there’s “Conspirator” which thrives with a rattling bass guitar presence early on, charging forward full speed and tearing through the opposition in a very Napalm Death manner before eventually coming to a doom heavy crawl – something also found in much of “Discloser” – but only after partaking in a short ritualistic passage that seems to dabble in an Inquisition black metal input.

Poison Headache

Poison Headache‘s debut is easily one of the most well calculated assaults on the senses to come out of the hardcore world in a long while, and the companionship between the trio that is this beast only makes it that much tighter. Violent, dark and sometimes burdening, this self-titled debut is a visceral romp that has no qualms in incorporating death metal, grindcore, even doom metal and subtle black metal elements to get the point across. This isn’t for those looking for anthems about brotherhood and unity. Oh no, this is something designed to feed into the deepest recesses of your own mind and unleash the rage that has been brewing. Easily one of the most impressive debuts you’ll come across this year, Poison Headache is simply a must own.

Poison Headache

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.