If you don't like Groove Metal or regional rhythms of Brazil mixed with Metal, you must hear to this album! It'll open your minds and ears!
December 21, 2023

Brazilian people have deep problems with a failed educational system in a way that deforms the core of our musical personality. It is seen on many ways, always linked to hate speech and alienation. For an example, musicians as Luiz Gonzaga, Hermeto Pascoal, Alceu Valença, Elis Regina, Cartola and many others are despised by almost 80% of Brazilian Metalheads that really can’t stand regional music from Brazil. It’s a kind of mental colonization, the alienation, because no one needs to like their musical works, but to know and understand them. It’s easy to see a Brazilian Metal fan knowing all about European Folk music, but speaking badly from Brazilian music. Such hatred is a sickness that creates prejudices against people of some regions in Brazil, especially against Northeastern people (a lovely and kind people, I can tell it due the experience). For those, maybe the work of HEADSPAWN wouldn’t sound great, but for those free of the chains of Plato’s cave, “Parasites” is a great release.

Hailing from João Pessoa (Paraíba, on the Northeast region of Brazil), the trio comes with a form of music that can be said as a blend between Groove Metal, Stoner Metal and Heavy Metal, with and intense and massive weight on their songs, but with excellent melodies, all sharpened by a modern insight and plenty of musical elements of Northeastern region from Brazil (some percussion, and the use of a musical instrument of Baião called ‘triângulo’ especially on the beginning of “Terra Solis”, or something inherited from Maracatu music on “Everybody Hates Somebody”). If one think about SEPULTURA’s works on “Chaos A.D.” as a referential frame, it’s not good, because the band brings excellent melodic contrasts (as heard on “Butchers”). It’s really an amazing album, full of energy, aggressive but filled with excellent choruses and hooks.

Again the band worked with Victor Hugo Targino (known for his works with CANGAÇO, FORAHNEO, OMAGO, WARCURSED and others) on the production, recording, mixing and mastering, as on its previous releases (some EPs and Singles), and an evolution can be felt in every aspect: “Parasites” sounds distorted, oppressive and greasily nasty way, but on a clean and defined way. One can understand the band clearly and without problems. And the artwork of Wildner Lima (@wildnerlimaillustration) has many interpretations, one of them is that the sloth is a common animal of Brazilian Fauna, here predated by parasites (the Brazilian politicians, obviously), in a protest against destroying nature for profit.

It’s not a sin to say that “Parasites” is many steps ahead of “Pretty Ugly People” (their first EP) in terms of maturity, heard on all the songs, so it’s not a sin to say that it is one of the finest releases of Brazilian bands of this year. “Terra Solis” opens with a ‘triângulo’, but soon a brutal crush is imposed by Groove parts, preparing the ears for the aggressive shout called “Butchers”, a massive song filled with groove parts and very good melodies (pay attention to the contrasts between screams and clean tunes of the vocals). Following, “Sinking Jetsam”, a song filled with intense and abrasive Groove Metal in the vein of the 90s, with brutal and oppressive rhythmic parts of bass guitar and drums.

Somme catchy Hard Rock touches and intense double bass drumming appear on “Failure, Death and Decay”, where groove hooks appear a lot, with a wall of guitar riffs and fine 6 strings melodies during the clean vocals moments. Breathing unconformity and revolt comes “Everybody Hates Somebody”, an abrasive and sinuous song with touches of groove inherited from Funk/Soul music (but the regional touch inherited from Maracatu is truly precious). “Fili Caatinga” is another short instrumental song, with a deep and melancholic touch, with clean guitars and the use of berimbau e o pandeiro (two Brazilian musical instruments), in a homage to their regional culture (Caatinga, according to Wikipedia, is a type of semi-arid tropical vegetation, and an ecoregion characterized by this vegetation in interior northeastern Brazil, and the name in Tupi language means ‘white forest’ or ‘white vegetation’, and it’s usual to see the use of Caatinga word as a reference for the Northeast region). It words as an intro for the intense blow called “Ghost of Myself”, a song that mixes aggressiveness, melodies and groove in the due proportions, with nasty guitar riffs.

On “You Are” the band used some broken tempos and refined arrangements between the harsh aggressiveness and greasy groove parts, but with a clean accessible touch. And “Brought into This World” is a song focused on a slower set of tempos (even with all the weight and technique used on bass guitar), with bitter guitar filling all the spaces. Closing the album comes “The Grotesque Factory of Flies”, a nasty and bitter song that shows all the musical elements that the band uses, and what it stands for, with contrast between melancholic moments with bonecrushing intensity on the groove touches.

For those that look only for the ‘king in the belly’ they have, maybe they find an excuse to speak bad about “Parasites”. But for Metalheads that are into what Metal stands for, the work of HEADSPAWN is a very good surprise.

Take a bit:

10 / 10









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"Parasites" Track-listing:
  1. Terra Solis
  2. Butchers
  3. Sinking Jetsam
  4. Failure, Death and Decay
  5. Everybody Hates Somebody
  6. Fili Caatinga
  7. Ghost of Myself
  8. You Are
  9. Brought into This World
  10. The Grotesque Factory of Flies
Headspawn Lineup:

Alf Cantalice - Vocals, Guitars
J.P. Cordeiro - Bass
Marconi Jr. - Drums

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