Sunday, 3 April 2016

GRAND HEAD - Grand Head



Grand Head - Grand Head

Barry Brusseau - guitar, vocals
Tim Ward - drums

What the band says:

"Grand Head is a two piece. Tim Ward and Barry Brusseau are brothers, and have been playing together since 1984. First real band together was harcore outfit Dread. Next came The Jimmies, and they spent 15 years doing that.
Under our Mothers roof, in a small town of Longview Washington, we first aimed at perfecting our Slayer, Hellhamer, and Venom covers. We also wrote an original song titled “Burn the Witch”. The year was 1984 and Mother was not happy.

Tim and I are brothers, and have played together ever since. Putting our first band together in 1987. A hardcore band based in Portland Oregon called Dread. Dread self destructed in a year. Then we spent 14 years in the Jimmies. A punk band that did release an album with Panic Button/Lookout Records.

Grand Head is based here in Portland Oregon, and have been together for about a year and a half.

This is our debut. The plan going in was “All the doom in 3 minutes or less.” Over the course of playing together it became less doom focused and more a mix of all our heavy music loves. A little Sabbath, a little Venom, and even a little Black Flag.

This album is self-released on my own little folk label. It will sit snug next to the very quiet music Gorbie International Records puts out.

Recorded at Type Foundry."


At the moment there appears to be a great new heavy album released weekly, particularly within the stoner doom genres I normally haunt, but I've noticed that there is a growing tendency for bands to follow a Sabbath, Elder, Witchcraft, or Graveyard kinda vibe. Nothing wrong with that when those releases are of impeccable quality as the majority are, but it all seems so SAFE, and dare I say it SAMEY. Not so with Portland's Grand Head whose self titled album was released at the start of this year.

Raw as a knee after a spill off a motorbike, and just as unpleasant. Grand Head based in Portland, Oregon, is two brothers, who must have terrorised the local neighbourhood, playing a caustic mix of heavy punk with sludge. The band cites Black Flag, The Melvins, Harvey Milk, and would you believe, Celtic Frost as influences for this release, and fuck me, that's exactly how it comes across.

The album opener 'Bull Ramos' is an immediate taster for what to expect throughout the rest of the album, lean, there is no excess fat with Grand Head whatsoever, and the likening to the Harvey Milk sound is immediately apparent, with somewhat unsettling song structures that just about hold together so as not to become 'experimental.' The Celtic Frost influence becomes obvious on track three 'Dark and Starry Sky' where the band treats us to a death grunt before launching into what is definitely a CF riff, but warped, not quite, beyond recognition. 

I would most definitely recommend this for anyone who is looking for something different, but not excessively so, its wacky... but not enough to be described as 'ambient'. Grand Head is an album to dissect and then examine its constituent parts. Placed under a microscope, there is a heady brew of dark punk, blues doom and sludge waiting to be discovered for the lucky person who takes a chance to check this out.