OK, we’ve come across yet another band that wedges itself in the popular rap-rock genre. I know what you’re thinking; more Limp imitators, another kernel in the Korn field …enough friggin’ rap-rock already! But read on, we’ve found a jewel amongst the thorns.
On their self-titled debut, Canada’s Headstrong assaults listeners with some seriously muscular guitars, pensive yet aggressive lyrics while incorporating harmony into the equation. No, that wasn’t a typo: harmony.
Not your typical rap-rock band, Headstrong strives to be heavy, yet introspective. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Not to worry, you won’t find any intolerable Creed-esqe religious overtones or Disturbed-like just plain stupidity here. These guys get their message home the old fashioned way: by enveloping it in a barrage of groove-oriented distortion.
To tell you the truth, I can’t really compare them to anyone else, each song on the album seems to be influenced by another band. Backlash, for instance, would fit perfectly on a Rage Against the Machine album; lofty social commentary layered upon infectious guitar riffs. Do What You Like sounds like something Scott Weiland would, or should for that matter, have written.
Not surprising as they cited STP as one of their major influences. Later in the record, Headstrong tosses a serious curve ball in I am for real by throwing in recycled Slayer riffs (You thought no one would notice?) over some angst-ridden lyrics. What’s all this anger about? Thankfully, it’s not about senseless violence (you hear that Mr. Durst?), but rather more poignant social issues ranging from corruption in the music industry to psychological trauma.
The remainder of the record, including the first single Adriana, could probably be most comparable to the Deftones; bludgeoning, de-tuned guitars mated to catchy lyrics and seriously melodic harmonies. Actually, Deftones fans would really like this album. As a matter of fact, the editors of Spin and Metal Edge think that a lot of people would really like this album; they cited Headstrong as one of the bands to watch in 2002.
Honestly, there was nothing there that really impressed me. I’ve heard all of this stuff before; albeit from different artists. That aside, these kids have talent. Check them out at 94.9’s Bonzai! music festival, April 26 at Bicentennial Park. With bands like Headstrong on tap, Canadians are slowly but surely making up for giving the world Bryan Adams. We haven’t forgiven them yet.