Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone (InsideOut Music)Sunday, 13th March 2016
Those well-versed in the progressive/heavy music sectors will probably know a couple of the players in this UK quintet Headspace – vocalist Damian Wilson through Threshold or Star One, while keyboardist Adam Wakeman beyond being the son of ex-Yes ivory wunderkind Rick Wakeman, also worked with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath in certain capacities. Understandably carving out time to work on material around their busy schedules, in a decade’s time they’ve put out one EP and full-length, moving on to their second album All That You Fear Is Gone – the first to feature new drummer Adam Falkner.
Progressive rock is at the foundation of Headspace’s expansive approach (think early Genesis meets Dream Theater/Pain of Salvation) – many of the songs containing longer instrumental passages that showcase a lot of syncopation and interplay between two or more of the musicians. Accurately juggling complexity and simplicity often in the same song, “Your Life Will Change” has a harmony-laden vocal melody that penetrates for the chorus, while the piano, bass, and guitar work shimmers in fluid, shape-shifting resplendence during the last third of its 6:41 arrangement. The follow up “Polluted Alcohol” has more of a slide, western acoustic country guitar ballad feel, Damien stretching into a bluesy delivery that proves he’s one of the genres best singers no matter what style you give him.
Metal does factor into the picture from time to time, guitarist Pete Rinaldi using a heavier tone for the darker “Kill You with Kindness” as Adam’s uplifting keyboard work rises to the occasion to create dynamic contrast, building inherent tension as the tempos subtle shift. Lyrically continuing the previous album’s storyline, prepare for individual thoughts breaking free against natural grouping tendencies – be it from government, big business, or religious perspectives as titles like “The Day You Return” and closer “Secular Souls” illustrate.
Headspace smartly construct shorter segments like “The Death Bell” or “The Element” to give the listener breathing room against more of the long-winded compositions – “The Science Within Us” at 13:14 the centerpiece of the record, featuring some great rhythm section groove/ propulsion push and pull by bassist Lee Pomeroy and the aforementioned Adam Falkner as Wilson spins the lyrics in a fevered pulpit meets soulful / progressive rock extravaganza. It’s never easy to be heady and keep a sense of melody and hook parts in this genre – All That You Fear Is Gone succeeds because of the musical cognizance, putting this record top of mind for modern progressive rock and mandatory.