Head On Collision
RIYL: Lich King, Warbringer, Shocktroopers, Very Metal, Drunkard & Abandoned
Beer City Records thrash act Head On Collision proves there’s more to St. Louis than just poverty, racial strife and that ugly metal thing by the river. St. Louis may not be renown for its thrash metal scene but Head On Collision stands poised to change that with a skull crushing debut that proves just as heavy as even the ugliest urban landmark.
Head On Collision‘s sordid roots can be traced to the now deceased hardcore outfit Very Metal. As Head on Collision‘s founding member Pat McCauley‘s previous band, Very Metal saw some success as a hardcore outfit. That band has come and gone but it served to ferment the germ that would one day become Head On Collision. Pat McCauley had always dreamed of playing in a straight, balls-to-the-wall thrash metal band but tastes had changed, as they are ought to do, and McCauley found that the indie music scene in the late 80’s wasn’t particularly hospitable to thrash metal. Suffering from the giant tidal rush of Metallica‘s dominance, the 80’s gave way to the 90’s and a younger, more impressionable McCauley found greater acceptance catering to a hardcore/crossover palette with Very Metal. After that band’s eventual demise, McCauley found himself with the artistic freedom to chase his ultimate dream of thrash metal perfection.
It took four years since Very Metal‘s demise but by Spring of 2005 McCauley had found a roster a roster of capable musicians (no small feat; the band was now on its third vocalist) and recorded their debut five-song demo, Arise From the Wreckage. The response was positive and thanks to a great live show, promoters and labels began to take notice. A year later the band was invited to take the stage at the fearsome Minneapolis Mayhem 3 festival. After years of hard work, a revolving door of vocalists and some 1,200 demos sent, it seemed like success had finally arrived.
Unfortunately pressures built alongside the band’s hype and just as soon as success had come the band was teetering on self destruction from infighting. Realizing that another major roster change was in order, McCauley recruited a near new lineup. Acting on a friend’s advice, McCauley found airtight percussionist Jason Brooks for the drum throne and Dave Carr to fill in on bass. John Hancock kept his position as lead guitarist and McCauley assumed both vocals and guitar.With that the band was finally ready to make good on the Minneapolis Mayhem festival’s invitation. Taking stage in Minneapolis, a newer, stronger Head On Collision showcased the aggression of their debut with a newfound clarity and precision that would become their hallmark. Decades in the making, McCauley‘s vision had finally been birthed in earnest.
A lesser band would have crumbled under a fluctuating lineup and the inevitable strains of raising an independent band from nothing more than the strength of their resolve. Thankfully this band is a tougher sort and it reflects in their music. Even with Dave Carr leaving bass duties a year later Head On Collision has moved on as a three piece (with Hancock playing bass) ’til they find a good replacement for Carr.
Head On Collision is straight thrash metal without the bullshit. Playing fast and hard without nod to any trend or posture, Head On Collision is refreshingly unaffected. Those tired of diluted crossover amalgams will relish the band’s full length debut, ‘Ritual Sacrifice’. Head On Collision recall the thrash scene at its most fecund state. After languishing in the gallows of heavy music for so many years, Head On Collision stand poised to bring thrash metal out of the shadows and into the limelight once again.