One of the more peculiar things about death metal is how on one hand it can serve up a pure, old-fashioned ass-beating, but on the other it also presents a canvas for grappling with complex issues—and in some cases, as with Denver's Headshrinker, the genre takes on both roles in the same space. Headshrinker, featuring members of the Chicago technical black/death group Polyptych, interweaves these two facets into their genre-spanning songwriting, developing a sound that can rip holes in the flesh and also bore into the mind: we're premiering "Wretched Soul" off of their upcoming album Callous Indifference as an excellent primer on how they achieve this.

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"Wretched Soul" roars to life immediately with chainsaw riffs and off-axis harmonies, seeming relatively classic in nature, but as the song develops a different atmosphere takes hold: chunky riffs shift into pummeling cadences and black metal's serpentine progressions, lessening the immediate brutality but developing a sense of rising dread in its place. Neoclassical leads and synths enter the picture as well, completing the transition from a straightforward assault to sinister clockwork technicality. The result is a change in the listener's perspective: what felt like gleeful destruction at first now reveals itself as a complex portrait of suffering.

Guitarist/vocalist Young Werther comments:

This song embodies the hopeless feeling of existence from the perspective of a mind who feels trapped in this life. No one chooses to be born into this world and being forced to live through it can feel as if it has been cursed upon us.

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Callous Indifference releases independently on August 27th, 2021 and is available for pre-order via the band's Bandcamp page.