Headfirst Straight to Hell


Victory Records • 2001

Grade is one of my favorite bands of all time. Through catalogues of albums that came in and fell out of season, this album never did. Looking back, not only did Headfirst Straight to Hell not fall out of season but it has always been an enjoyable listen. This was Grade’s last album. It was a modern masterpiece with a recording dynamic that gives the album the timbre of an 80’s heavy metal album recorded on analog tape. They paid homage to their youth through mythic and gloom-ridden overtones while covertly adding traditional heavy metal elements through the mixing and production of the album itself. You’ll hear vestiges of Iron Maiden, Blue Öyster Cult, and old Metallica.

This band was on fire in the 90’s. They were and will always be respected in the world of rock and roll as a band that was able to transcend trends in hardcore punk and make valid statements through their music. Every song on this album is good. It consistently pushes impeccable, driving guitar work coupled by an album cover that could have easily reignited the Bible Belt’s ‘Satanic Panic’ of the 1980’s.

While I try to moderate how often I review music because of the fact that I can’t stand op-ed material, I felt this one to be somewhat necessary. This album is definitely worth a listen, especially for those that play a stringed instrument. Within the confines of vacuous truths that define what a good album is, this album is masterful.


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