Published May 11, 2016Honestly, it's surprising that the Head Wound City reunion happened at all. Back in the mid '00s, the band were but a blip in the careers of its members, who, after spending a week writing and recording an EP, playing one show and calling it quits, went full-time in the Locust, the Blood Brothers and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, respectively. Long after Head Wound scabbed over, guitarist Nick Zinner suggested the quintet get back together in 2014. This led to club shows, a tour with Marilyn Manson and a full-length recording: A New Wave of Violence.
A decade removed from Head Wound City's self-titled EP, the outfit have naturally grown as a unit. While their first record was a blur of contorted thrash tracks rarely surpassing the one-minute mark, there's a newly streamlined focus to A New Wave of Violence that's substantially more brutalizing. A cyclical, menacing chug of guitar ushers in "Old Age Takes Too Long," which is as hypnotic as it is harmful. Above the din, vocalist Jordan Blilie shrieks of scavengers "circling dead memories," then caps it with a self-aware, forward-pressing mission statement for the group: "I've tossed out every piece!"
The ten-song outing offers up a fair share of warp-drive numbers, with drummer Gabe Serbian dropping a full-on assault of rapid-fire beats that hit like a hollow-point to the forehead. While the band slathered psyche-altering digital effects onto its first release, they simply dial up the distortion and go for the throat this time around. Cody Votolato and Zinner's power chord damage on tracks like "Head Wound City USA" and "Born to Burn" is massive and impactful. Expanding their horizons, "Scraper" brings a ghoulish glam spirit to the record, while the steady, sledgehammer slam of Justin Pearson's bass on "I Cast a Shadow for You" almost lends a danceable quality to the song.
Blilie's lyrics are rife with horrific scenes, whether reflecting on the crumbling of society ("Born to Burn") or comparing a perfect love connection to a "bathtub and a blow dryer" ("I Wanna Be Your Original Sin"). The vocalist examined similar themes with a voyeuristic and perversely poetic sneer in the Blood Brothers, but now a husband and father, he seems more aghast at the chaos confronting us each and every day.
The new wave of violence is frightening, indeed. (Vice)