A quick browse of t’internet tells us that Spearhead are from “southern England”, though we’re unable to identify specifically if they’re pointy-headed fucks from Cornwall, bumpkins from the West country, Mockneys from the home counties, toffs from Surrey, or wide boys from Essex. Aside from this geographical conundrum, the only thing remotely British or English about Spearhead is the obsession with war that they share with Bolt Thrower.
Their fourth album following long after 2011s “Theomachia”, Spearhead take musical cues from the sharper ends of both the US and European death metal scenes, with nods to both early Vader and Morbid Angel obvious here. They also employ the dynamic changes in tempo and rapid time signatures reminiscent of Dutch legends Centurian to great effect throughout the album, notably on “Ajativada” and “Degeneration Suicide”. On the whole, this has a feel of old school death metal; the lo-fi production values show none of the polish that the majority of modern releases enjoy, however this lack of sheen is possibly what sets them apart from would-be peers.
Spearhead wield some intelligent lead guitar breaks, and the inclusion of two instrumental tracks enhances the atmospherics, in particular the distorted synth and choral work in “Hypoanthropos” which lends further menace to Spearheads sonic armoury. It’s an element of their sound that I’d love to hear combined more with their bludgeoning riffs on future releases.
Despite a dated production and roots in old ideas, this album still has a freshness to it that’s hard to pin down, and exactly the level of maturity expected from a band on their fourth release.