Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Headspace - I Am Anonymous CD (album) cover



Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars This album was one of those albums that I went in to having no idea what to expect, and came out feeling very pleasantly surprised. If you've heard of this band, you've probably heard the name Adam Wakeman. Yes - THAT Wakeman family, he's the son of Rick Wakeman. But the name you may not have heard in connection to this project, but should have, is Damian Wilson - the vocalist for Threshold and one of the vocalists of Arjen Lucassen's Star One. Damian adds his stamp to this album in a big way. Having heard the name of Adam Wakeman in reference to this band, I was not prepared for the big, heavy sound that came forth. And then when Damian started singing I immediately thought "why did I not hear that he was in this band as well?" His voice is well complimented by the sound of the band, and his singing comes across with intense power. I've always been impressed with Wilson's singing as being one of the few tenors I've ever heard that I would describe as sounding powerful, and the heaviness of this album enhances that effect. There is a maturity to this release that you would not expect from the first full album of a band, with no one member of the band taking the spotlight but each member playing his part in creating a lush soundscape. The overall tone of the album is darkly epic, with peacefully serene sections only reinforcing this effect. Each time I listened to the album, I found myself thinking I needed to rate the album a little higher than I had originally thought, until I got to a point where I decided that this album is quite near to perfection, and is most definitely in my top 5 Progressive Metal albums of the year.
Report this review (#761232)
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Doesn't It Make You Feel Like Murdering Someone?"

It took me a while to get my hands on I Am Anonymous. Back in the distant past of 2012, it was right at the top of my list. That album cover, that name, that logo, the fact that they were touring with Haken all pointed towards this album being insanely badass. At the time, I didn't really know much about the great Damian Wilson aside from the fact that he was once in Threshold, who I kind of liked, and I didn't really care for Adam Wakeman being Rick Wakeman's son, because firstly talent isn't really genetic and secondly I didn't really like Yes to start off with. But I Am Anonymous was supposed to be the greatest damn thing I'd heard in the entire year.

I'll admit, the first time I listened to it I was really disappointed. "God, this sounds like Dream Theater." I said, rather disgruntled. And not a good DT clone either, like Haken. This was the DT clone where they put things in 5/8 simply because they wanted to make it into 5/8, not because it worked with the music. I mean, some of those parts are cool, why are you adding an extra couple of semiquavers just so some idiots can masturbate to numbers? Rather annoyed, I put I Am Anonymous into my 3-star section and went on grumpily.

So now, you're probably wondering what's changed. Or not, since you don't actually give a [&*!#] and just want me to talk about the music. But anyway, you'll notice I now give this album a full 4 stars. Although, for many people (who are stupid), 4 stars isn't really a high grade, for me it's a really high grade. In fact, I was even considering raising I Am Anonymous to 4.5 a while ago, but abruptly changed by mind when I got to a certain section, which I will address later. But to be honest, all of my first impressions of this were true to a certain extent, so what changed?

Let's get two things out of the way first that might clear up why I like this album so much now;

1. Damian Wilson's voice is [%*!#]ING AWESOME 2. That guitar tone is [%*!#]ING AWESOME

It's strange how something as simple as that can turn an album of wank into something I genuinely enjoy. Because every time Damian's not singing, there's a riff running along with that really chunky sounding tone. I have no idea why it sounds so awesome, it just does. And Damian's voice is so poignant here. I have since heard him on other albums and I can honestly say this is his best performance, and it's ever so slightly different to what he does elsewhere, the sign of a great singer. The fact that here he does a different delivery to what he does on March of Progress, and yet you can still tell it's the same guy. In trying to describe the vocals here, I have eventually landed on something I call a "James Blunt-ism". And I'm sure there are much better singers than Blunt who do it, but he's probably the most well-known. It's that sort of reserved voice when you pull back and start attempting to sound like Leonard Nimoy. And Wilson's at it for this entire album, and it's fantastic. In fact, the first couple of minutes of "Daddy Fucking Loves You" feature probably the best vocal performance from 2012.

But it's not just that. One of the benefits of having such a chunky and epic guitar tone means that when you get it grooving, YOU GET IT GROOVING. God damn some of these riffs are head-bopping. And yes, they still do that annoying thing Dream Theater do when they change the riff too often for you to get in its rhythm, but songs like "Die With A Bullet" and "Invasion" that stay in the same time signature long enough are damn funky and really get your blood pumping. And the way Damian hits some almost hip-hop inspired rhythms on his vocal is fantastic to both listen to and emulate. In fact, as much as people will kill me for saying this, it reminds me a bit of the way David Draiman from Disturbed accentuates his delivery, with extreme focus on rhythm and giving his voice a more "punchy" feel. Both of the songs are about murdering people, too. They do a pretty good job of translating that into the music, since listening to "Die With A Bullet" while walking does really make me feel like a murderous killing machine.

And although this is a progressive band taking on a pretty serious topic like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, we don't see an abundance of the insanely cheesy lyrics that normally adorn this type of music. In fact, some of the lyrics are actually pretty poignant and well written. I'm not sure who wrote the lyrics here, (although Damian mentioned he wrote "Die With A Bullet" in his thanks column), but the album moves from solemn ("Soldier", "Daddy Fucking Loves You") to absolutely brutal ("Die With A Bullet") and doesn't really feel clichéd or out of place. I love the way that the lyrics, when read from the booklet, read like a train of thought as opposed to a line-by-line poem like a lot of bands. The band tells the tale of post-war and (presumably) flashbacks through the 5 stages of grief. Although this feels like the sort of crap a prog band would pull (each 25 minute song represents a stage of grief!!?!?!!!!1!one), it's not as blatant as that and actually fits the music.

But obviously, I Am Anonymous still has its shortcomings. There are the aforementioned dumb time changes. There's the middle 10 minutes of "Daddy Fucking Loves You" which goes from wank to wank without pause and makes for some of the dreariest listening ever. And then there's "Invasion", which takes too strongly from the wrong end of Porcupine Tree (at times sounding like a direct copy of "The Incident"), but luckily has a pretty decent ending that saves it. There are a few moments that are ruined by solos or stupid keyboard sounds, especially the solo in "Stalled Armageddon" which sounds insanely out of place, and the unnecessary inclusion of the keyboard solo in the almost-perfect "Die With A Bullet". Headspace are still a Dream Theater clone at heart and whenever this comes through it destroys quite a lot of the integrity, but I don't exactly blame them.

I Am Anonymous is most certainly an enjoyable album. It has a lot of character and a lot of melody. Although I listen to it because of the fantastically catchy melodies and stunning vocal delivery, you could just as easily listen to it for technical proficiency and interesting (although personally annoying) rhythmic ideas. I'd like to say that this is an incredible album, but it definitely turns to a complete mess in certain sections. Although for some reason, people seem to like that.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Report this review (#812599)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Calling their debut full-length I Am Anonymous is a ballsy move on the part of Headspace, particularly since progressive metal is a reasonably crowded field with an audience hungry for novelty - had they released an album a little too generic and derivative of pioneers in the style, they'd have written their own epitaph with the title. As it stands, the album does often sound rather... well... anonymous, with the prog metal checklist ticked off in rote fashion, but it's buoyed up somewhat by subtle, nuanced performances by Adam Wakeman on keyboards and Damian Wilson on vocals. From the paranoid refrain of "They know now!" on Stalled Armageddon onwards, it's clear that Wilson has a real knack for getting to the emotional core of a composition, whilst Wakeman manages to combined technically impressive keyboard work with a deft sense of when to seize the spotlight and when to give the other performers space to do their thing. Not a classic, but a good example of this sort of prog metal project, even if the title does cut a bit too close to home.
Report this review (#857052)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This album was eagerly awaited by many progheads, and with good reason. The line-up alone is enough to get anyone interested, and I tend to have a standard rule of thumb that anything that involves Damian Wilson is worth investigating. The first time I saw Damian on stage was a solo artist with an acoustic guitar opening up for Shadowland and Jadis at the Marquee on the Lurve Ambassadors tour a million years ago, and since then I have been lucky enough to catch him in concert with other groups and have most of his recorded output. To my poor abused ears one of Rick Wakeman's finest albums of his entire career is 'Out There', and who is the singer? Damian. But wait, there's more, who is the bassist? Lee Pomeroy. The Wakeman connection doesn't quite end there as drummer Richard Brooke has also played with Rick and is where he met the others. In fact you have to feel sorry for guitarist Pete Rinaldi as he is the only who hasn't played with Rick ? but at least now he is playing with his son as the keyboard player is none other than Adam Wakeman, who has well as being known for playing with his father has been with Ozzy for the last eight years and I can remember interviewing him years ago when he had the band Jeronimo Road. Now who could have been the singer with that band? Oh yes, that would have been Damian. It's all very incestuous in the prog scene.

So given that we have world class musicians, songwriters, producers and singer would one expect an ordinary album? Of course not. Perhaps somewhat surprising is that the album is more metal oriented than one might expect with Adam's presence, but given than he plays with the price of darkness and Damian fronts Threshold maybe not quite as much after all. But it isn't all blasting guitars and riffs, one of the most effective songs is "Soldier" which is a poignant short number with Damian being accompanied mostly be gentle piano chords ? the use of a tolling bell in the background is simple yet incredibly effective, taking the song to a whole new level of emotion and atmosphere.

"Daddy Fucking Loves You' is based on a conversation that Damian had with a soldier, where the soldier told him of the time he was trying to describe to his young child why he had to go overseas and eventually he burst out with that statement in frustration. It is fifteen minutes long, and starts with gentle acoustic guitar and clear vocals, but it soon becomes a prog metal monster. The riffs sound as if they could have come from Fear Factory, not a prog act, and one can imagine a mosh pit going for this one ? until Lee and Pete decide that they are going to lock horns and provide a load of complexity not normally associated with industrial metal. Dischords and jagged edges as the song twists and turns means that this takes on a life of its' own as it cross musical boundaries and creates a huge statement. It has taken these guys five years to produce their first album, something to do with them all being busy on other projects, let's hope that it isn't as long until the next one as this is the beginning of an incredible musical journey.

Report this review (#862002)
Posted Monday, November 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Headpsace is a young prog metal from UK but with veterans in prog rock and prog metal realms featuring here. Their first opus released in 2012 at Insideout label and named I am anonymus is a good towards great album, but I can't say is a groundbreaking album as many pretend to be. The cherry on the cake is for sure, at least to me thexcellent vocalist Damian Wilson, he has a super voice and fits perfectly here, also the keyboards of Adam Wakeman sounds pretty much ok, but nothing really impressive. The guitar is crunchy goes very much most of the time in prog metal territory with both mellow passages and more furious ones, each time Pete Rinaldi done a good job. The highlight is for sure, the opening track Stalled Armageddon, this pieces reminds me a lot of Threshold Extinct instinct era, both in manner of composing and aswell the voice of Wilson, a great prog metal tune with tempo changes, smooth passages and all ingredients to be a fairly solid track. The rest I can say are only ok, are good for sure, but nothing really excellent moments to my ears. Still a band to watch in the future they might come with a second offer as a nice surprise. 3 stars, maybe 3.5 in some parts.
Report this review (#930726)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Adam Wakeman: doesn't wear a cape, even though he is the son of Rick Wakeman; yes, that Rick Wakeman. With all the work Adam has been doing with Ozzy and Black Sabbath, somehow the last place I expected to see him releasing high quality material was in prog metal, and fine prog metal at that, even if it's not nearly symphonic enough to recall his father's work, although several reviewers have attempted to draw comparisons to his father's prog rock; there are none. Yet somehow, Headspace exceeded all my expectations. I, for one, get very bored with so-called prog metal releases, but this I Am Anonymous really hit the nail on the head. Wakeman managed to turn me from a doubter into a believer with smart compositions of epic length and a very special weapon: Damion Wilson.

Headspace's first full length album, I Am Anonymous mixes the best that Wakeman and Wilson have to offer. The tracks are tightly composed and lyrically ambitious, delivering an anti-war message that is both brutal and powerful. Overarching the individual songs are several sections that add loads of depth to the album through the perspective of a soldier and the ideology that he's fed. Apart from the lyrics themselves being brilliant and thorough, each of these overarching sections has a small bit of text that is crossed out, throwing the listener into the mental anguish of a soldier's struggle to cope with reality. Bottom line is that I Am Anonymous is a true lyrical gem, one which sucks you in and forces you to relate to what it's saying. There's actually so much text that you wonder how they are going to fit it into all the songs. Not only do they do so, but Damion's presentation of the lyrics is heartfelt and comprehensible, making the message accessible even without the presence of the album booklet.

What's great about Headspace's composition is that musically each track tells a story. Even without the gorgeous vocals of Mr. Damion Wilson, the songs themselves have a great sense of trajectory. Take "Fall of America," for example. It's large scale makes it possible to represent a number of moods, all of which do a majestic job at expressing the lyrics. The riffs are huge, in your face, and have tons of groove. At times Headspace breaks into hard rock territory, while there's other moments of fantastic dissonance with haunting keys and almost a polyrhythmic feel. The chorus is slow, doomy, and powerful. You can look at just about any track and find a similar story. This whole album is milks the ability to smoothly transitions you from exploding mortars to weeping for the dead as it pulls you in and out of harsh riffs and soulful ballads.

This is exactly why Damion Wilson, in my opinion, is the absolute perfect singer for this album. He knows how to be intense, he can sing his soul out on the soft parts, instilling the story with a sense of tragedy, and he can even be catchy and rhythmic, falling somewhere between a weird but clever feel half way between Tool and Porcupine Tree. His main strength, however, lies in his ability to interpret the lyrics. On "Soldier" he sounds so sorrowful that you are really asking yourself what you'll do when the war is over, hoping for a proper burial at home. The final track, "The Beginning," shows some brilliant, ethereal and uncanny vocal harmonies between Damion and members of the band, and the entire song is filled to the max with Damion delivering heartfelt lines heightened by gut wrenching lyrical beauty. I have heard this many in many bands and projects, and I must say that his vocal performances on Headspace take the cake; perhaps the finest work he's ever done as a whole.

These British boys certainly deliver both quality and quantity with their latest release, I Am Anonymous. This is an album that deserves thorough inspection, as it is getting better and better with every listen. When I first heard Damion with Rick Wakeman's New English Rock Ensemble, I thought it was a great combination. Little did I know that this Threshold legend of prog metal really was destined not for father, but for son. Adam sure found just the right group of musicians for this fantastic release. I wish them the best of luck and success in the future and am expecting more great releases in the future.

Report this review (#1290514)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars HEADSPACE or how to listen by chance to an album of good metal prog, with the divine voice of Damien WILSON, with sounds pulling on QUEENSRYCHE, OPETH and DREAM THEATER for a very pleasant flight of 2012. Fairly quiet tracks at the start, adrenaline rushes as they go along, compositions that are longer and almost violent, all for a joyful feeling of this group full of musicians already very famous elsewhere. Perhaps one of the bands where Damien WILSON can let his voice best express his messages (here on messages of anti-war rather than peace!) and where he magnifies the musical notes of his cronies. An album that he must have listened to at the beginning of the decade to realize the fusion of the obvious progressive genres, which was slow to manifest itself.
Report this review (#2310706)
Posted Thursday, January 30, 2020 | Review Permalink

HEADSPACE I Am Anonymous ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of HEADSPACE I Am Anonymous

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.