Multi-instrumentalist Per Wiberg has pulled a blinder on this solo effort. After a long career playing in plenty of influential bands, it was time to lay down something truly his own. Wiberg said of it himself: “...with this, I wanted to focus on moods and let the lyrics set the tone”.And it’s true on every track. He’s focused on storytelling, and it makes for compelling listening.
The tracks roll from tension to release and back just as the lyrics need them to. Thematically, the songs are loosely reminiscent of outlaw country, but the instrumentation is strongly rooted in darker stylings seemingly only accessible to Scandinavians. Album Opener “Let the Water Take Me Home” features huge rumbling chords when it delivers, but settles back to where it began; a single, delicate piano melody.
Later songs in the album are pure driving industrial; the second track “Anywhere the Blood Flows”could almost be mistaken for Rob Zombie – although the chorus is more Velvet Revolver.
Despite a wide range of styles used on the album, Wiberg doesn’t so much bounce between genres as gradually slip between boundaries until the album is somewhere and nowhere definable.
Constant though, is hard rock, dissonance and intensity.
Textural devices are used sparingly but to great effect, with haunting, synthesised ghostly “chords” hanging over the compositions like the wings of a great bat. Filled out with guitar, organ and lord knows what else, these techniques are best heard during “Pass on The Fear”, and on album closer “Fader”.
There’s no doubt left that Wiberg’s sense of melody, harmony (or deliberate disharmony) and songwriting ability are well refined and practised. The only aspect of the album that sometimes leaves the listener wanting is the vocal delivery. Perhaps with this new experiment Wiberg is new to being his own frontman, but the vocal lines though well-chosen could benefit from a stronger delivery sometimes. This isn’t a criticism necessarily, but the sheer gravity of the backing tracks begs a strong vocalist, and maybe this would be better explored further in the future. Stylistically, he’s somewhat reminiscent of Dug Pinnick’s performances in KXM, and the lyricism is intriguing, especially since they’re written and sung in English.
All in, Head Without Eyes is a fantastic debut solo effort. Hopefully, Wiberg explores this further, and soon.
Head Without Eyes was released May 10th via Despotz Records
- Let The Water Take Me Home
- Anywhere The Blood Flows
- Pass on The Fear
- Get Your Boots On
- Pile of Nothing