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(49:00; Head with Wings)
One day I received an email from Josh Corum, who had been put onto me by Pat Sanders (Drifting Sun), to see if I would be interested in hearing the debut album from Head With Wings. At the time of recording the band was primarily Joshua Corum on lead vocals and guitars, and Brandon Cousino on guitars, with guests taking the rest of the roles, although the band is now a quintet (and I see they recently toured with one of my favourite American bands, Thank You Scientist, I bet that was a great gig). This is also a concept album, and again covers a dark subject area. The album’s narrative revolves around a troubled schoolteacher who loses his daughter in a school shooting. This incident incites an insurmountable period of grief that destroys his marriage and leads to the suicide of his wife. The protagonist begins to withdraw from society and enters a long period of isolated depression. After a year or so of isolation, he finds himself as a new man; rid of the memories of his past and ready to replace them. Inspiration for the album’s chronicle can be linked to the likes of the Sandy Hook Massacre, the Cheshire Home Invasion, and the kidnapping/murder of Joshua’s cousin, Meredith Emerson, in 2008. The release of ‘From Worry to Shame’ marked the 10-year anniversary of Meredith’s death, with Joshua wishing to raise awareness about the importance of remaining astute when journeying through life. This is an area I have been personally thinking about a great deal recently, as I decided to reach out to someone I knew 20 years ago, only to find they disappeared in suspicious circumstances (presumed murdered) and there is an open police investigation. Musically this has taken a great deal from early Porcupine Tree and no-man, along with the more melodic stylings of Opeth and Leprous. It is art rock, progressive rock which has nothing in common with the regressive or neo-prog stylings of so many, incredibly layered so one feels encompassed by the music. Joshua has a wonderful voice, and the music is designed to keep that at the fore, with guitars often gently picked as opposed to riffed hungrily. There is a lot of space within the album, and it feels incredibly modern, allowing itself to breathe and move when the need arises, flexing its muscles when the time is right. It is an incredibly intense album, both lyrically and especially musically, so much so that at times it feels there is a weight, a physical pressure, being delivered. It is all part of the presence and forethought which has gone into it. Overall this is a wonderful debut, and I for one am certainly looking forward to the next one with great interest.
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