The Vicious Head Society is the project headed up by the multi-talented Graham Keane. On his debut album “Abject Tomorrow,” it’s easier to list what Keane didn’t do than what he did! He wrote all the music and lyrics, plays all the guitars, most of the bass guitar and keyboards. For the rest he enlisted some serious talent!
For the bulk of the album, drums are handled by the vastly underrated Kevin Talley (ex-Suffocation among others) while the rest were performed by Klemen Markelj (Obidil). So yes the drums on this entire album are flat out amazing. Hedfuzy bassist Pat Byrne plays on a few tracks (he stands out on “Downfall”) and former Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian guests on the blistering instrumental “Psychedelic Torture Trip.” That is such a killer track and showcases not only Derek but Keane’s amazing virtuosity. This track alone makes this album essential.
And that’s what deserves the attention on “Abject Tomorrow,” the amazing playing and song writing of Graham Keane. He is never flashy for the sake of it. The songs come first and foremost. And that’s where the vocals come in. All the vocals but the title track are handled by Wilmer Waarbroek, best known for his work with Ayreon. The title track is sung by Nathan Pickering, who does an outstanding job on that more subtle track.
Subtlety is not something Waarbroek is about and while at times that does service certain songs well (like parts of “Agenda” and “The 11th Hour”). At other times, it feels like he is over-singing a bit to get noticed. The lead track “The Sycophants” is an example where, for me, he is just way too loud. As someone who loves the vocal histrionics of someone like Devin Townsend, I can appreciate Waarbroek’s talent. But I’d rather the focus stay on the songs and the man who wrote them.
That said, the closing epic “Analogue Spectre” is all fucking killer and no filler, this includes the vocals. Having said all of this, I really think most people will love the vocals more than I do. The music is EPIC as hell so it does make sense to have the vocals be just as epic.
What I cannot believe is that this is the first album by The Vicious Head Society. How does someone as talented as Keane not have many albums out? And what do they feed them in Ireland anyway? If you love technical prog metal with a healthy dose of over the top vocals and overall fireworks, you NEED “Abject Tomorrow” in your life. Support indie artists or else.
1. The Sycophants
2. Abject Tomorrow
5. The 11th Hour
6. Psychedelic Torture Trip
7. Gods Of The New Age
8. Analogue Spectre