After initially hearing Exploding Head Syndrome I found myself wondering how in the hell I haven’t heard this band yet. They formed back in 2010 when the childhood friends got the idea to start a punk band. They thought the idea of starting a punk band in their thirties was kind of ridiculous, but nevertheless Exploding Head Syndrome was formed. I’m very happy the band did form as well. The name for the band came about when one of the members was browsing the web and found a weird sounding disease called Exploding Head Syndrome. The band found the name to fitting for the kind of music they wanted to play. The band released their self titled debut in 2011 on Ampmanden Records. The band went on to release two albums in 2013 which includes ‘Disciples of Reason’ which received rave reviews. Exploding Head Syndrome was hailed as “one of the most exciting new Norwegian bands” by Norway’s leading radio show for hard-rock music. In the summer of 2015 tragedy hit EHS when bassist Bjørnar died. The band after some time to mourn their comrade auditioned bassists and soldiered on. The band signed a record deal with Wormhole Death Records and went on to record their next album, ‘World Crashes Down’, at Mathlab Recording Studio in Montale, Italy over three weeks in June and July 2016. In August the record was finished, and was released worldwide on November 4. The album remains true to the bands punk roots but incorporates a lot of hardcore influence as well as some heavy groove rock vibes.
The opening track of the album “Wasted Away” gives you an almost throwback sound. The majority of the vocals give you that scratchy tone and then you get moments of what I refer to as surfer rock type vocals. The melodies created with the two in contrast with one another is just a thing of beauty. It’s not often you get these truly classic punk elements and a guitar solo, but EHS are all about giving you everything and more. This song is such easy listening and you will likely play it a couple times before moving on to the next song. The title of the next song alone deserves praise. “The Fine Line Between Hardcore and Hipster” really speeds things up. The lyrics “No way to fuckin’ know for sure, If you lack originality or just don’t care no more, You look the same you’re not fooling no one, So scared to be different can’t be much fun” couldn’t be more true in this modern era. In a world full of followers Exploding Head Syndrome are leading their own charge with a unique sound. Some may try to copy their style but no one will ever master it as they do. A little dose of feedback starts out the song “Invincible”. While the song is still fast paced it takes a more aggressive stance than some of the other songs. The guitar work is a little more gritty with slowed down portions to change the tempo. The tempo change in the song really sends it in a different direction about halfway through the song. It’s not the first time on this album but it’s some of the best vocal harmonies that lead into the end of the song. ‘World Crashes Down’ makes it incredibly hard to pick a favorite track, but it would have to be “End Game.” The song is a little askew from what the band has done on the rest of the album. The song features guest vocals from Ida Dorthea Horpestad (Blomst). The screeching guitars and the diversity in the vocals are just pure ecstasy. The song stands out and is so beautiful it’s hard to put into words, so judge for yourself in the video below which was directed and edited by Morten Rørvig. Do not let this album pass you by. For anyone that has a love for punk, hardcore or groove you will quickly become a fan of Exploding Head Syndrome.