Review: Howls – The Headache

Sometimes, you just really want to listen to some pure filth. You want to lose yourself in a record that feels like dirt beneath your fingernails and yellow setting into your teeth. You want to experience a record that sounds like you’re swinging from the ceiling in a seedy basement in the middle of the wildest house party of your life. Luckily, bands like Howls exist to quench such a ferocious thirst. After injecting a bit of life into the underground punk scene with the deliriously brutal EP ‘No Living’ back in 2015, the time has come for them to try and spread the same sort of energy across a full-length. The good news is they smash it.

What is most impressive about ‘The Headache’ is how much Howls manage to squeeze into such a fast-paced full-length. There is snarling aggression one minute and quivering tensions the next. There is party starting riffing one moment and all out apocalyptic heaviness a moment later.

The Headache by Howls

Though on the surface this is a no holds barred punk record, if you dig a little deeper there is so much to discover. There is a level of craft and care you don’t usually get with music this scrappy and raucous, and an intensity that often doesn’t come across as sharp as it should. The result is a set of songs that are as individual and boundary-pushing as they are raw and familiar.

‘The Headache’ is an understatement. This is an absolute head battering. This is punk at its most visceral, clever, devastating, grooving and most importantly dark. Howls have filled a hole in punk that had slowly but surely been getting bigger with an album that holds nothing back and leaves nothing to chance. Now, bang your bloody head.

3.5/5

‘The Headache’ by Howls is released on 28th April on Truthseeker Music.

Howls links: Facebook|Twitter

Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)

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