Kempers Heads

Cover Image
Ulterior - Kempers Heads

March 31, 2009

US CD Killer Pimp PIMPK008

  1. 15 - [M4V]
  2. Fireships
  3. The Death of Everything
  4. Weapons - [M4V]
  5. Dream Dream (demo)
  6. Weapons (Diamonds Remix)

CD has enhanced content with the music videos for "Weapons" and "15", photos, and MP3s of:

Formed in 2006 amidst a growing state of frustration at the surrounding mediocre music scene. Brothers Paul (vocals) and Benn (keys), together with Simmons (guitars) and Karl (bass), have garnered attention from all quarters through powerful and bracing live performances.Raw, electronic sounds, attacking drum machines and aggressive guitars compliment sloganeering lyrics. Their live reputation has helped cut a path through current UK scenes and gained them comparisons to JAMC, Big Black, early Manics and Suicide.

Kempers Heads combines songs from their first two UK-only 12" singles, Weapons and 15, adds some new tunes, and comes as an enhnaced content CD with music videos, remixes, and photos.

The kids in Williamsburg, NY think they're the cat's meow—on the edge of cool where cool is not and not is cool. Where music and irony are concerned, this is especially true. The denziens of Williamsburg invented music and irony. But I bet sissy bands inside 11211 couldn't hold a bottle of Zima to London's Ulterior. Half Sisters of Mercy, a quarter '80s-era Killing Joke and a quarter Gary Numan [circa Replicas], Ulterior's dingy electro-beat is at once postmodern and gothic. - Chris Dick, Decibel

Like labelmates A Place to Bury Strangers, Ulterior create an ominous, righteous racket that is powerful and tight tight. "Kempers Heads" collects the band's first two 12", both released only in the UK. These six brutal but oddly danceable tracks swim in waters rippled by Big Black and other Killer Pimp bands, but there is something about their take on volume, transgressive, martial lyrics and that damn assaultive keyboard that make them worth a place in the mix. Brothers Paul and Benn, on vocals and those keys respectively, seem to steer the ship, while guitar and bass serve as rhythm section. On "15" and "The Death of Everything," the guitars lead the band into the mystic, with the rhythm and mood becoming increasingly menacing and unhooked. Two versions of "Weapons" are eerie, keyboard driven songs, ridiculous in their rawness and warping of techno motifs. You can dance to them, but spasmotics might have more fun. Ulterior gleefully succeed in scaring the shit out of you. Uncomfortable but majestic, "Kempers Heads" is a solid intro to a band that probably won't last long, given how uncompromising they are. Hopefully they will be one of those bands people discover later, and prove their cool by dropping their name. The "Kemper's Heads" CD has enhanced content with the music videos and additional three remixes. 9/10 -- Mike Wood, Foxy Digitalis

When's the last time you considered industrial music? Don't think too long - it's probably been a while. Quite alright, because you may have a reason for mental resurrection. Ulterior is a leather-and-drum machines London group and Kempers Heads, released on the same label that launched A Place to Bury Strangers, collects their first two UK-only singles and assorted extras such as music videos, photos, and remixes by Zlaya, Ade Fenton, and A.R.E. Weapons. At their best, Ulterior come across as Suicide shifted into overdrive, with apoplectic guitar noise draped over top like a more aggro Jesus and Mary Chain or Spacemen 3. Vocalist Honey (another reminder of JAMC?) waxes nihilistic over ceaseless beats and reverb-y effects: "We're living in nothing / Or nothing's living in us" is yowled across "The Death of Everything"'s dismal four-four reality along with countless other melancholy proclamations. In other tracks contained in the half-hour run time, we get fire, weapons, and sex, not to mention a glimpse at the grotesque with the line, "Inside your mouth is another mouth." But I wouldn't go to Kempers Heads seeking philosophical counseling; the words, despite being so often confrontational, come off more as adornment than nucleus, meant rather to advance the visceral heft of the music rather than communicate their own messages. That's acceptable, I'd say. Listened loudly enough (too low and you could mistake these tunes for second-rate ring tones), the group is a singular physical experience, the pulverizing rhythms and disorienting guitar noise entertaining the role of a sinister tag team in your speakers. Ulterior rekindle the notion brought forth by the forebears of industrial that music should confront and challenge the audience, though they do so within a realm of listenability that keeps the compositions from getting obnoxious. Such striking balance, clothed in black... - Jacob Price , Delusions of Adequacy

Having introduced the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers and All the Saints to the world, Killer Pimp has already built up a reputation as the launching point for some of America's darkest, loudest and generally most kickass rock bands. With the release of Ulterior's debut EP Kempers Heads, itself a compilation of two 12-inch singles, that reputation isn't about to change anytime soon. Ulterior's noisy and horrific sound is similar to that of Strangers or Saints, but a bit more terrifying, combining the three-chord noise pop of The Jesus and Mary Chain with the manic art pop of Suicide. Leadoff track "15" begins simply enough, with a solid groove and distortion a-plenty. But as the song builds toward its harrowing climax, it becomes even more intense than initially suspected. Siren-like synths (perhaps Theremins?) cut through the haze of "Fireships," while "The Death of Everything" begins with a rapid fire, sinister techno assault, ultimately becoming an unsettling industrial dance throwdown. Likewise, "Weapons" is house music for the criminally deranged. I'm not an avid wearer of fishnets and PVC, but Ulterior rocks hard enough to make me rethink my stance on industrial music. . Jeff Terich, Treble

"...a sonic thunderstorm suddenly ripped forth from the speakers, quelling the chatter of the assembled scenesters and style hacks. This was Ulterior, and their weapons of choice were pounding techno beats, blazing Jesus & Mary Chain-style noise guitar and the passive-aggressive vocals of a stock-still, moody frontman. They blew the roof off the place..." Playlouder

"Ulterior are like a pack of dogs. Rabid and hungry and full of reverb, they sound like having a fight with yourself in an underwater glass factory" PiX 'Zine

"Any band who dedicate their entire existence to the pursuit of all-out visceral noise deserve a place in my record box." Faris Badwan, The Horrors

"The spluttering drum machines and primitive synths are pure Suicide. The air of icy aggression evokes Spacemen 3; the sullen, leather-clad image evokes the Jesus & Mary Chain; and the screaming guitar feedback evokes both. These are men of impeccable taste, clearly, and from the moment they appear onstage, you're somehow magnetised by their hostility." Yahoo! Music