Friday, August 24, 2012

Headspace - I Am Anonymous

Headspace
I Am Anonymous
Inside Out Music/Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

When Threshold vocalist Damian Wilson and keyboardist Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath keyboardist, and son of Yes’ Rick Wakeman) announced a joint venture under the name of Headspace, the news had many within the progressive rock scene eager to hear what the pair would come up with. And sure enough, with the release of their debut E.P. ‘I Am’ in 2007, the London (U.K.) based outfit lived up to expectations with the four tracks offered up. Timing issues and commitments to their various other projects slowed down Headspace’s progress towards the completion of a full-length effort for some years. But after a five year wait, the band (Who also comprise of guitarist Pete Rinaldi, Rick Wakeman/It Bites bassist Lee Pomeroy and drummer Richard Brook) have finally returned with ‘I Am Anonymous’.
Unlike a lot of progressive rock outfits, Headspace focus more on putting feeling and emotion into their music rather than relying solely on their technical prowess and wizardry, and that’s immediately evident with the album’s opening track ‘Stalled Armageddon’. ‘Stalled Armageddon’ has plenty of metallic passages that bring to mind Tool and Dream Theater in places, but it’s Wakeman’s masterful keyboard presence and Wilson’s passionate and emotive vocals that help give Headspace a sound that steers away from sounding like more of the same.
The follow-up track ‘Fall Of America’ is undoubtedly one of the album’s heavier and aggressive offerings, with Wilson alternating between anger driven passages, near on whispered passages and multi-layered harmony lines, while the diversity of sounds offered from the band on this track bring to mind Sieges Even in places.
The slow piano based ‘Soldier’ is a real stand out track that allows Wilson to showcase his delicate and emotion laden vocals while telling a story (This track kind of outlays the theme running throughout the album), while the straight forward drive of ‘Die With A Bullet’ is another stand out with its simplified structures and mix of musical aggression and vocal melody.
The church organ/choral introduction on the first three minutes of ‘In Hell’s Name’ is incredibly well done, while the subtle sitar effects (Which are most likely played through the keyboard) and the percussive dominated/jazz-like experimentation in the latter half of the song work well at show the band’s willingness to experiment within the confines of the tried and true progressive rock sound.
Despite the terrible title (Which in all honesty is – until you understand what the song is about), ‘Daddy Fucking Loves You’ is a great track that really does take the listener all over the place throughout its epic fifteen minute running time. Passages of particular note are the fragile/gentle acoustic start, the riff/keyboard heavy middle section and Rinaldi’s shredding towards the tail end.
Finishing up the album is the melodic, tense and darker edged ‘Invasion’ and the diverse progressive rock finale ‘The Big Day’.
Unlike a lot of progressive rock acts in today’s scene, Headspace has a sound that stands out from most. ‘I Am Anonymous’ does take time to fully understand and appreciate, but is well worth the time invested. This album is highly recommended for fans of Threshold, Dream Theater and quality progressive rock in general.

For more information on Headspace, check out - http://www.headspaceonline.com/

© Justin Donnelly