Head Cleaner – The Extreme Sound of Truth (Vinyl Store)

Friday, 8th September 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Greek band Head Cleaner have been purveyors of death metal/grindcore since the early 2000’s – although this fourth album The Extreme Sound of Truth is their first since 2013’s Of Worms and Men. A part of the extreme metal underground, it’s very apparent through these eleven tracks that the quartet have lost not one ounce of tenacity in their aural assault – the blitzkrieg ethos punctuated with brief groove-oriented reprieves with some solid interplay skills to keep you engaged before the next blasting chaotic passage pummels all senses.

When choosing to go a little longer (over half the songs do not reach the two-minute mark) for “Bread and Circuses” at almost three minutes, you get a seesaw battle between mid-tempo crushing riffs and frantic speed runs where bassist Lefteris K. and drummer Billy S. dazzle in some progressive shifts, the double kick / snare plus low-end hits sure to take your breath away. Tremolo picking insanity and d-beat/blasting shuffles allow “Mass Production Dream” to go down rather smoothly, the mid-tempo transition only a tease into the next snarling vocal bark emanating from Jim ‘Mitch’ E, who has a similar savage delivery as the great Barney Greenway of Napalm Death. Onward you go throughout this 25-minute exercise in grindcore vitality – Costas C. guitar-wise filling the songs with a mix of death, grindcore, and groove-oriented chord progressions that fly as fast as his hands/fingers will allow. The left-field effort “For Tomorrow’s Lesson” near the end of the record contains a controlled, semi-tribal like tempo foundation against some ethereal doom-like riffs, probably one that will connect most to audiences desiring some circle pit action.

Those who love older Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror should have no trouble devouring Head Cleaner with The Extreme Sound of Truth. It’s got the right balance between technically sound songs, mid-tempo stomp maneuvers, and the bullet train blasting/speed riff madness you’ve come to expect in this genre.

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