HEADHUNTER
"Parasite of Society"

(Candlelight)

01. 3rd Man Introduction
02. Parasite Of Society
03. Silverskull
04. Remission
05. Doomsday For The Prayer
06. 18 And Life
07. Read My Lips
08. Backs To The Wall
09. Egomaniac
10. The Calling
11. Payback Time
12. Rapid Fire

RATING: 5/10

As the story goes, vocalist/bassist Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer left German thrash juggernaut DESTRUCTION after the decade of the 80s came to a close and formed HEADHUNTER, the music of which was more akin to power metal (albeit without the glitz and glam) than straight up thrash. The band released a few albums before Schmier rejoined DESTRUCTION and HEADHUNTER was not to be heard from again until recently, a whopping 13 years later. Schmier is joined by guitarist Uwe "Schmuddel" Hoffman (ex-TALON) and drummer Jorg Michael (SAXON, STRATOVARIUS) on "Parasite of Society", an album with two distinct "sides", one good, one not so good.

Though seemingly a generic descriptor, "German metal" is perhaps a more fitting illustration of the music heard on "Parasite of Society", as it indicates a traditional/power metal style with thrash elements, rough edges, and, for the most part, strong melodies. Setting aside intro "3rd Man Introduction", tracks two through five are the album's strongest. Though the title track basically sounds like DESTRUCTION playing a KREATOR song, it is hard to argue with the thrash ferocity and immediately memorable chorus. Every single time I hear the sample of a tattoo gun buzzing to introduce "Silverskull" I feel as though I'm back in the chair and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Anyway, the tune is power metal in structure with an effective switch from mid-pace verse to up-tempo chorus, the slick lead work especially evocative of traditional heavy metal. It certainly is a catchy little bugger. On "Remission" the vibe is a dark, morose one, as a light verse leads to a rather urgent chorus, while a mid-song break for an up-tempo slam jam works magnificently. Rounding out the grouping is "Doomsday for the Prayer", another solid, power metal influenced thrasher.

Things move squarely into middling territory beginning with an awful cover SKID ROW's "18 and Life". I'm not averse to cover tunes, but this one is just bad, in part because of a sloppy feel in the playing. "Read My Lips" is another up-tempo number with an aggressive riff, the most tolerable of the second side ditties, but still mediocre. With its basic riff, cadence, and big chorus, "Backs to the Wall" is another so-so track. "Egomaniac" does boast a capable arrangement and memorable chorus, but off-key vocal sections kind of kill it. "The Calling" is just plain irksome with its MANOWAR-ish gang vocal refrain, while "Payback Time" is a weak rocker that would barely work a B-side. I should note that there is a version of the album with a cover of JUDAS PRIEST's "Rapid Rire", which is not included on my copy.

Considering only the aforementioned first batch of tracks, I'd be inclined to score "Parasite of Society" somewhere around a 7 – 7.5. Taking into account the remainder of the album, a 5 is probably about right.

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