Friday, October 14, 2011

Brian "Head" Welch Steps Ahead Again

It might have been six years since Brian "Head" Welch left the band, but most people still associate his name with Korn, the first nu metal band rightly credited with helping shape the metalcore scene.

That might change early next year. Since Welch broke with Driven Music Group in March, he has been working tirelessly in the studio with producer Jasen Rauch, formally RED. And Welch's band Head — with members Dan Johnson (drums), Michael Valentine (bass), and J.R. Bareis (guitar) — put out the first single from their upcoming EP a few weeks ago.

As a foreshadow of things to come, Paralyzed is solid as a standalone. While the lyrics are consistent with Welch's personal struggle, the arrangement suggests that he has finally settled into a direction. It's still restrained by metalcore standards, but Welch hits upon a harder sound that is superior to his experimental debut album, especially in its primary riff.

Paralyzed recaptures crushing riffs, a faster pace, and heavier goodness.

One of the challenges some had with the debut album Save Me From Myself was that Welch tried too hard to prove he was different. Sure, there were some solid tracks on the first album and it had some meaningful lyrical moments. But at the same time, Welch didn't seem as comfortable or confident with the direction as he could have been.

Paralyzed, on the other hand, brings out more of Welch's potential as a solo musician/vocalist. It's almost as if he has learned that you do not have to have a hard break with the past to move forward. The past will always be part of you. You only have to make moving forward carry more weight.

Paralyzed clearly carries more weight. Most people can relate to the music in whatever context they choose. Everyone feels paralyzed at times, and can only hope that those closest won't abandon them.

At the time we first published, the video for the new single was still due to be released soon. The concept for the video isn't so new: It serves up a familiar and very literal meaning: empty warehouses and straightjackets.

The song itself is being billed as his most dynamic single since Korn. There is some truth to that. In fact, comparing it to the last single put out by his former band, it's obvious who is on the better track.

"Life is a crazy roller coaster ride, man. The ups and downs we ago through are enough to drive us insane if we let them." — Brian "Head" Welch

Who knows? This song might be the benchmark for a banner year where Head and Korn can stop talking about each other. After all, it has become monotonous to read the same question over and over.

To sum up that answer: While Welch will not rule anything out (as in forever), he has repeatedly said that he is not looking to reunite with the band. And why would he? Paralyzed may carry simple lyrics, but Welch has found a way to deliver them with full effect. Head is moving ahead, not paralyzed.

Paralyzed by Brian "Head" Welch Gets Unstuck At 6.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

For someone like Welch, Paralyzed may come across as neutral. It's better than that, especially if the forthcoming EP can take advantage of a harder sound on both sides of the spectrum. Welch deserves to be watched because he is clearly on sturdier ground since splitting with his label. This single was released through Headdog Music.

You can download Paralyzed from Head on iTunes. Paralyzed - single can also be downloaded on Amazon. Welch and Head are touring this month with RED, Echoes The Fall, and Icon For Hire. His daughter will also be joining him on tour for the first time. Look closely on iTunes. She may have even reviewed the single. That's cool.
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