"Maximum Rock"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Rich Hoak, drummer for Brutal Truth and Total Fucking Destruction, must have a lot of nervous energy. Old Head is his latest project and it has the loose and breezy feeling of something whipped up just for fun, with no big concept or drama behind it. With a title like "Maximum Rock", I was expecting something in the vein of Zeke or Supersuckers. There is some of that feeling here, but this is a lot more metal than I expected. I'd describe it as old school thrash with a sizable injection of punk and classic rock. The CD includes no less than 3 unorthodox covers played the Old Head way.

With expectations ranging from low to non-existent for Old Head, this winds up being a fun listen that won't tax the brain cells and which kills off a half hour painlessly. It opens up with a thrashed-up cover of Jethro Tull's "Fat Man" and surprisingly, this is kick-ass thrash from the get-go. The vocals of MegaDan Tumolo are very much classic rock growling, grunting or rasping at all and the occasional scream is from the glory days of metal. Guitar solos are everywhere and have a kind of Megadeth feel to them. The cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Almost Cut My Hair" is an orgy of screaming lead guitar and catchy riffs.  The Old Head version of Sabbath's "Rock N' Roll Doctor" is pretty sloppy, though, and ends in a real mess. Most of the band's own songs are fun and energetic, with "Consumptuous" coming across as more pure punk than anything and "The Ballad of Old Head" ending the affair with what sounds like a classic hard rocker gone berserk.

Fast, loose and easy, "Maximum Rock" succeeds precisely because it has no grand pretensions whatsoever.