Big Black
Headache


3.5
great

Review

by BMDrummer USER (49 Reviews)
May 14th, 2014 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Warning! Not as good as Atomizer, so don’t get your hopes up, cheese!

Big Black gave a spotlight to the now legendary producer Steve Albini, to say the least. Compared most of the 80s punk scene had hardcore punk of bands such as Agnostic Front and Minor Threat, Big Black were stood out from the crowd because of their dissonant guitar leads, dark lyrics, and pulsating drum machine rhythms . They stayed quite underground for most of their career though, but they have since been acknowledged as influential in both sound and attitude. However, after producing 3 EPs and one LP, Big Black were coming to a sudden halt. With Headache, it’s quite easy to see why this was.

Big Black had often experimented with their sound on past releases, such as the up tempo Bulldozer EP, the more rhythmic Racer-X, and the extra dissonant Atomizer. With all these releases coming out in only a number of years, their creativity naturally seemed to drain a bit. Headache is the best example of this sound, but it would be wrong to simply write it off as a generic noise rock album. There is some evolution to be found, including minor usage of minimalism, more emotive vocals, and a sound beyond bleak. This could be described as Big Black’s most inaccessible release by far, with the topics being among the darkest in their catalog. The opener “My Disco”, in particular is about a doctor who’s first born child was apparently born dumb and deformed, from which he gets drunk and throws the child against the ground killing it. But, the overall sound is not much different than their past material, which is the biggest weakness on this EP.

Track by track, this EP does a fine job sending one into the ugly world Big Black portrays. I already mentioned what “My Disco” was about, but there is more aggressive topics to cover. These include murdering someone over stealing one’s tools (Grinder), typical violent criminals (Ready Men), and a self-obsessed detective (Pete, King of the Detectives). As expected, every track is very noisy, harsh, and especially dissonant. The distorted vocals are a nice touch to the somewhat worn out sound, as well as the plodding tempos though. The wall of sound in the beginning of “Ready Men” is another little sign of evolution from the band, even if it is just a small touch. Other than things like that though, this EP feels more like a placeholder than a new statement from Big Black, which is a bit of a sad end.

So, Headache is basically just what Big Black normally does. They’ve created another noisy, abrasive, punk EP, which it certainly succeeds in doing, but there is little more to be interested in. They apparently stated that ideas were somewhat scarce when they recorded this EP, which certainly seems like a valid statement. Luckily, Songs About ***ing would pick up the pieces a year later and claim the spot as Big Black’s masterpiece though. So, they were definitely right with that sticker.
Quote:
Not as good as Atomizer, so don’t get your hopes up, cheese!




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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
BMDrummer
May 14th 2014


14112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Already a neg? From who?

ArsMoriendi
May 14th 2014


22423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Decent review, I'll pos it.



It's a bit too much like a track by track though.



"Pete, King of the Detectives" is epic, the rest of it is only okay. Definitely their worst studio release.

Digging: Minnie Riperton - Come To My Garden

ArsMoriendi
May 14th 2014


22423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Also, BMDrummer, sometimes I feel like you and I are the only huge Big Black fans on here.

BMDrummer
May 14th 2014


14112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Haha, yup I often feel the same way.

ArsMoriendi
April 24th 2015


22423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'M PETE, PETE AGAIN I'M PETE

Supercoolguy64
April 24th 2015


8143 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

still need to check this

i remember seeing an interview with Steve Albini once and he was talking about the story behing "my disco" and damn he looked fucking sad during that interview

ArsMoriendi
April 25th 2015


22423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's probably their worst EP, but it's short is still decent so go for it.

ArsMoriendi
January 3rd 2016


22423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I am king I am Pete I AM PETE!

Supercoolguy64
January 3rd 2016


8143 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

still need to check this [2]

ArsMoriendi
January 3rd 2016


22423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's like worst Big Black.



Check Songs About Fucking and Racer-X first, they're both much better.

BMDrummer
January 3rd 2016


14112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

goddamn this review sucks

Supercoolguy64
January 4th 2016


8143 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

looking back on the past things aren't the way they seemed



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