Headhunter – Parasite Of Society (2008)

Headhunter – Parasite Of Society (2008, Candlelight Records)

  1. 3rd Man (introduction)
  2. Parasite Of Society
  3. Silverskull
  4. Remission
  5. Doomsday For The Prayer
  6. 18 And Life
  7. Read My Lips
  8. Backs To The Wall
  9. Egomaniac
  10. The Calling
  11. Payback Time
  12. Rapid Fire (Judas Priest cover)

Band Lineup:
Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer – Vocals, Bass
Uwe “Schmuddel” Hoffmann – Guitar
Jorg Michael – Drums

Total Time = 49:10

Headhunter official website
Headhunter MySpace page
Candlelight Records USA

PARASITE OF SOCIETY is the first Headhunter album since 1994 and marks a reunion 10 years in the making. Headhunter started out back in 1990 when Schmier left the band he founded, Thrash pioneers Destruction. Almost immeadiately, Schmier enlisted Uwe Hoffmann and Jorg Michael to form Headhunter, a band that would blend the frenzy of Thrash with the technical melodic prowess of Power Metal. Headhunter released 3 albums during the ’90s but broke up as Schmier returned to Destruction in 1998. 10 years later…..here we are…..

The music here is more German Power Metal than Thrash and definitely sounds like ’90s Metal. If I had to compare the band’s sound I would definitely list Destruction for the Thrash element and vocals but comparisons to U.D.O., Rage, Running Wild, Sacred Steel, and Grave Digger can be found. Schmier’s vocals are rough and harsh with a touch of the melodic, he’s not going to win any best singer awards but he is a unique force behind the mic. The backline of Schmier’s thrashy bass and Jorg Michael’s rapid fire drums really provide a solid punch. Michael has been in some of some very successful bands like the aforementioned Rage, Running Wild, and Grave Digger but he has also lent his drum style to Heavy Metal legends Saxon and Stratovarius so you know there is serious talent behind the kit. What makes Headhunter shine is the guitarwork and Uwe Hoffman really shreds all over this album, he has a cool sense of melody while he solos and lays down some killer Power Metal riffs.

Out of 12 songs there are two covers: Skid Row’s ’18 & Life’ and Judas Priest’s ‘Rapid Fire’. Let’s get these out of the way because I hate it when bands put unnecessary covers on new albums. Except for the solo, ’18 & Life’ is terrible but so is the original! This is probably one of the worst cover songs I’ve heard in a long time but the band redeems themselves with a solid run through ‘Rapid Fire’ that is straight up Metal. (My copy is the advance without ‘Rapid Fire’, I was able to find it streaming online for a listen.) Honestly, I could do without both in return for one or two more originals.

There are 10 originals on PARASITE OF SOCIETY and the first song, ‘3rd Man Introduction’, is a quick 30 second instrumental that slams headfirst into the Thrash power of the title track that has some frantic, speedy riffs. ‘Silverskull’ has more of a slower heavy groove to it until the chorus where it picks up again. I like how the guitar mirrors the chorus and has a chance to solo after each one but the vocals throw the song off a little…..’Silverskull’ could easily be a Primal Fear song with a change at the singer slot. I like the opening to ‘Remission’, very slow and haunting guitar lines open the song and follows into a doom laden main riff with Schmier going from a more melodic clean style to screams and growls. Listen to Jorg’s drums just crash all over this song, especially just before the revved up solo break. This is probably my favorite song of the record.

‘Doomsday For The Prayer’ is a fast neckbreaker that has more to do with the Destruction Thrash style while ‘Read My Lips’ burns with a speed demon main riff and pounding drums while Schmier screams over the top. It sounds a little too frantic but it all seems to come together. When I saw the title ‘Backs To The Wall’ I thought I was going to get a third cover, this time of Saxon, but thankfully it’s an original song. It opens with a drum intro, moving on to a bass highlight and settles into a mid-pace Metal march. I believe that is a sitar that opens ‘Egomaniac’ for all of 10 seconds until the song kicks into high speed with both Michael and Hoffmann duelling each other to see who is faster. ‘The Calling’ could easily be an U.D.O. stomper while ‘Payback Time’ finds a way to bring the pain with powerful riffs. There’s a break towards the end of the song where the band shows their comedic side by busting into a little Muppets action which also has a metallized passage that leads to a quick drum solo, this whole endeavor goes for a couple of minutes.

Bottom Line:
If you like straight forward Traditional Metal that blends Power and Thrash together then this is for you. If you are a fan of German Heavy Metal, then this is a combination of all different styles and bands. What I like about PARASITE OF SOCIETY is that Headhunter creates a collection of songs that sound raw but full of balls and fury. The band isn’t breaking any new ground with the retro ’90s sound but the album is a bit refreshing with the current trends in Power Metal going towards more orchestration and melodic passages. The album is full of great music, especially the guitars, but the vocals may throw people off. Schmier’s vocals may not be in the same league as Roy Khan (Kamelot), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), or Joacim Cans (Hammerfall) but the guy comes out and just sings with aggression, kind of sounds to me as a cross between Anvil’s Lips and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) with a little more screams and growls.

Favorite Songs: ‘Remission’, ‘Silverskull’, ‘Backs To The Wall’

Current Playlist

A lot has been going on in my life this weekend so the posting was put on hold for a couple of days. I changed shifts at work for this week so my assistant can have a deserved vacation week, I am returning to my natural overnight shift (12am-8am) for one whole week. For ten years I worked the overnight shift and, almost two years ago now, the powers that be changed it to 6pm-2am. That means I have a little more time to listen to music this week! Here’s what’s been spinning the last couple of days:

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): Anytime the Priest returns with a new album, it’s a reason for me to celebrate. I’ve been a devout worshipper at the altar of Judas Priest since 1982 so I knew I would like the new record. The problem with NOSTRADAMUS isn’t the material, it’s the time. The album clocks in at over an hour and forty minutes! That’s serious listening. So far I like the record but I definitely need more time with it…..a lot more time…..

Moonspell –  Night Eternal (2008): I have had an advance of this album for a few weeks now and I am still listening to it. I haven’t really kept up with Moonspell in the last few years but NIGHT ETERNAL has me checking my Moonspell catalogue so I can fill a few holes. A review is coming…..

Headhunter – Parasite Of Society (2008): Destruction mainman Schmier has had Headhunter going since he left Destruction in 1990 and this is their fourth, and latest, album. It’s not Thrash like Destruction, more like Power Metal, and the vocals are a little hard to take. Review is coming…..

Heidevolk – Walhalla Wacht (2008): I’ve been getting into a lot of Pagan Metal/Viking Metal lately and Napalm Records has been very good to me by sending me some of the latest releases (Tyr, Hollenthon, Heidevolk, etc). The music is superb here, very grand sounding, but the lyrics are all in Dutch. That’s just a small complaint as I’ve just enjoyed listening to the music, it’s not always about the words. Review coming also…..

Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark (1993): I love this album! I remember back at the end of my high school years my friends and I were disappointed with 1990’s NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING. Maybe it was because SEVENTH SON was so good? When FEAR OF THE DARK came out in ’93, I waited in line for it at a local record store and got a free poster for my trouble! The title track is so good and ‘From Here To Eternity’ is just classic Maiden. A solid album that everyone forgets.

Iron Maiden – The X-Factor (1995) & Virtual XI (1998): The Blaze Bayley era! There were some good moments in the post-Bruce Maiden like ‘The Clansman’, ‘Man On The Edge’, ‘Sign Of The Cross’, ‘Futureal’…..those were the singles. I decided after the Maiden show Friday night that I had to revisit the Blaze era to give it a fresh listen. Hard to believe these albums were released 13 and 10 years ago respectively.

Krokus – Rock The Block (2003): Marc Storace returns to the band after an 8 year absence and Fernando Von Arb is still pumping out boogie riffs this side of AC/DC’s Angus Young. This “reunion” is basically the Storace/Von Arb show but it was the best Krokus album since HEART ATTACK (1988). This would be one of my Top 10 of 2003.

Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon (2007): What was one of my Top 15 Albums of 2007 (#13) has now become an afterthought. I’ve barely listened to it since the new year and I didn’t even bother to review it. I’m preparing a post on albums I missed in 2007 that I’ve finally bought and I decided to revisit this record.

Kamelot – Ghost Opera (2007): Kamelot is one of my favorite bands and I have been listening to this album once a week since it came out. I decided to really give it a fresh round of spins so I can review it. Another album that made my Top 15 Albums of 2007 (#10), I would rate it higher today.

Journey – Revelation (2008): I really like this record and I’ve been giving this a lot of time on the stereo…..just the new songs mostly.