Released: 2005, Frontiers Records
Headrush is a new band from Alex De Rosso (ex-Dokken) and Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth). Seeing as how I’m not too familiar with Alex De Rosso’s prior history I was rather surprised to find he’d been involved with Dokken, a band that I lost touch with when LONG WAY HOME and Don’s recent actions soured me on the band. Though Rosso’s involvement with Dokken was only a couple tours in 2002/2003 he has released 3 solo albums. With regard to Roberto Tiranti, I’ve never enjoyed Labyrinth and have never felt they were more than a 3rd rate power metal band. So I guess you could say that coming into this album that my expectations were rather low…
Headrush play melodic hard rock with maybe a few hints of heavy metal, though those hints are rather slight. The band place a strong emphasis on a slightly modern guitar sound with heavy rocking riffs put together with melancholic dream-like vocal melodies. The album tends to remind me of Dokken’s LONG WAY HOME and even Don Dokken’s solo disc, UP FROM THE ASHES (the band Ten might be a good reference point as well but I’m not overly familiar with the band’s material) because of the melodies and way they work with the riffs, many times downplaying the overall heaviness.
Opening with “My World” the album starts off with its dreamlike take on what becomes the verse riff. Not too threatening and not heavy whatsoever, it draws one into the band’s sound rather quickly. Roberto Tiranti’s smooth delivery essentially makes the song anything more than a decent melodic rock song. “Not Just Anyone” works on the same principles as “My World” by utilizing a mix of softer sections with a more bombastic open chorus, throwing in the odd big riff to try and keep things on the heavier side, though I’d argue that it doesn’t do that good of a job. The Dokken influence I mentioned just drips off of the song “Ordinary Man”. The main verse riff sounds like something left over from Dokken’s DYSFUNCTIONAL album, with its chunky yet subdued delivery. The vocals on the chorus also tend to remind one of Don Dokken, Roberto sounds almost exactly like Don with the doubled up vocal.
Track 7, “Catch 22”, happens to have the heaviest riff on the album, taken right from early 90’s hard rock. Though I find it diluted by what has become at this point in the album to be Headrush’s typical song structure… soft/subdued verse, heavier chorus, bombastic pre-chorus/break. At this point in the album I’m starting to get sick of the overly clean and slick style… about ready to turn it off in favour of something with a tad more variety and excitement. Not that Headrush don’t do their job well, they happen to do it quite well, but there’s only so much one can take of the same song structure over and over again. The dream like quality tends to add to that feeling, at least for myself as I know there are probably quite a few people who’d get off on an full album like this.
What Headrush do, they do very well, but they suffer from a serious lack of diversity in their songs. Many of the songs feel like the same thing over and over, though the melodies and riffs are of a high calibre it still makes one feel like they’re hearing the same song again and again, even the ballads tend to become tossed in with the rest of the songs on the album as they work with the same dynamic (soft verse, heavy chorus etc.). Headrush’s debut disc is a good beginning but maybe not the strongest step forward for a new band. For hardcore fans of melodic hard rock only.