Headhunterz – The Return of Headhunterz
Undoubtedly one of the most riveting stories that have unfolded recently, the transition of Hardstylez’ favorite producer and DJ Headhunterz from his beloved genre to the ‘main streets’ of Dance music and back has had the attention of the industry. When, in 2014, the Dutch producer made the decision to switch from Hardstyle to what could be termed as ‘popular Dance music,’ the genre’s community and his fans in particular were not impressed to say the least. And, admittedly, for him things changed, allowing for series of emotional posts accounting for the gradual change of heart and finally letting Hardstyle and ‘Heady’ be reconciled as if nothing had ever changed. With the release of his solemnly touching release titled ‘Destiny‘ last September and announcement of an upcoming album some two weeks ago, things are looking better than ever for Hardstyle fans.
Titled, and aptly so, ‘The Return of Headhunterz,’ the album is pure, energetic delight with a strange of tinge of nostalgia. Kicking off with a declaratory ‘Intro’ to the album, it certainly reminds us how Headhunterz and most Hardstyle producers at large, put first, the listening atmosphere and then move into the music itself – having respect for the relationship between the listener and the producer. Leading the line then is ‘Rescue Me’ which sees Heady team up with fellow Dutch Hardstyle duo Sound Rush for an anthem-like track driven by a classic melody that rushes out of the synth work along with powerful beat-work accompanied by an inspirational vocal shift. What follows then in the form of an interlude is ‘The Truth’ – expressly letting the listener take it all in and have a moment with the album’s meaning to Willem himself.
Getting back on track with a more ‘rooted’ track, Headhunterz seems to turn the clock all the way back with ‘Takin’ It Back’. Seamlessly rewinding with the track’s infectious vocals and reversed bass-kicks, the track is another dosage of Headhunterz at its most refined. Up next, it is a Dutch party with ‘No One Can Stop Us Now’ which sees Headhunterz collab with Wildstylez and Noisecontrollers for, arguably, the most enticing track on the album. Euphoric to the core, the track sees the best of all producers melt into it and, as always, lend to an exceptional atmosphere. It is timely here to remind that Heady has been collaborating with Wildstylez off the production desk too, as the two have founded their own label called ‘Art of Creation,’ which also aims to release similar mellifluous tracks.
A Cinematic Edit for ‘Destiny’ follows, allowing the listener to get a different taste of a similar recipe, only this time with more fantasy-esque production. ‘Still Standin” furthers the brilliance of the production masterpiece that this album turns out to be, taking listeners through a more refined tunnel of vocals before breaking out into a rousing melody, posturing itself as one of the best tracks from the album. ‘Path of the Hunter’ showcases a more eerie and dark production style at the start that belies the absolute energy that the other half of the track possess in its locker, which sees Heady play with more distortion as it progresses. ‘Eye of the Storm’ allows for a calmer space before we enter finality of this ‘musical storm’.
It is then prophetic that Headhunterz’ collaboration ‘Our Church’ with Dutch duo Sub Zero Project ends the elaborate 10-track announcement of his return. Alluding to all those who own an ‘Orange Heart,’ a reference to his 2009 Defqon.1 anthem ‘Scrap Attack’ and Hardstyle lovers in general, Headhunterz ends the album on hard hitting notes, with hints of a changed-up beat, church bells, and ‘holy’ vocals which accompany a melody that exercises an exhilarating effect on the listener. It is with this announcement that Headhunterz declares his return ‘home’ – to the church of Hardstyle. Already being touted as one of the album’s of the year for its sheer value, momentum and quality, ‘The Return of Headhunterz’ begins a new journey for Headhunterz and his Art of Creation imprint.
You can purchase ‘The Return of Headhunterz’ album on iTunes here, available through Art of Creation.