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Social Head Removal
From Hope....To hatred
August 2009
Released: 2008, Self Released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

I probably will not be the first or last to say this, but a quick glance at the band S.H.R.’s (Social Head Removal) Myspace page reveals a band that looks like they are straight from London’s punk/hardcore scene. Indeed the band has been playing the London club scene for years now, gathering fans and honing their song craft. The effort is starting to pay dividends as the band is touring farther abroad now and have just released the follow up to their demo JIGS AND REELS titled FROM HOPE….TO HATRED.

Despite appearances, S.H.R. is mostly definitely a metal group and with the insane levels of competition out there, the crucial factor to any bands success or failure is the first impression an album makes and how it holds up on repeated listens. On both counts, this album delivers. Led by vocalist and guitarist Dave McEvoy, this trio has focused on the things that make great metal songs; strong riffs, infectious hooks, and confident aggression. “Alive” is probably the showcase track, with a nice clean intro that is reminiscent of and probably a tribute to Metallica’s “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”. The song then kicks into the excellent driving melodic main riff and a tasteful solo as McEvoy sings in a low register that avoids hardcore’s screams and death metal’s cookie monster styles. While the album grooves primarily at a mid-pace, there are plenty of aggressive moments to sink your teeth into, like the mosh-laden “Leave Scars” and the pummeling middle breakdown of “Unlearn”.

There is an obvious Pantera influence present on this album, but for the most part the band has forged its own sound, which is not derivative or unoriginal. Overall the production quality is excellent for a demo, and the rhythm section capably grooves and pummels a path for McEvoy’s riffs, which are so unabashedly vintage metal that they are a pleasure to hear. The reason the riffs standout is because McEvoy has let them speak for themselves without making them note dense and full of time changes or progressive wanking.

S.H.R. is a band that bears watching, and if they can secure the backing of a major label it will be interesting to see if they can start turning heads outside of the U.K. Fans of Down, Pantera, and metal with grooves and mosh breakdowns will definitely want to consider giving FROM HOPE….TO HATRED a listen.
Track Listing

1. Chaos Theory
2. Alive
3. Evilution
4. Deadview
5. Hellseeker
6. From Hope ... To Hatred
7. Leaving Scars
8. Non Compas Mentas
9. Element of One
10. Unlearn
11. In the Arms of Structure


Dave McEvoy - Vocals/Guitar
Mauro Imperatori- Bass/Vocals
Alex Martin - Drums/Vocals

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