Thursday, March 10, 2016

Album Review :: HECK - Instructions



March 11 2016 (NPAG Industries)


Words: Richard O’Hagan

You might know HECK better as Baby Godzilla, the noisy punk act who have been doing a nice line in ear-bashing live shows around the nation’s smaller venues over the past two years. Unfortunately, the people who own the ‘Godzilla’ name objected to their giant lizard being associated with a bunch of shouty people from Nottingham and insisted upon a name change. Hence HECK.

Not that the name change has really changed anything very much. HECK’s music is still a frenetic mess, where the guitar lines occasionally jar, the melody sometimes drops out for no apparent reason, and false endings abound. Over the top, Matt Reynolds’ voice screams, wails and moans. Some have compared gestating your first album to childbirth, but HECK have gone straight to the ’43-minutes-of-shouting’ bit at the end.

There’s a bit of something for fans of all styles of heavier music on this co-produced with Matt Peel (Pulled Apart By Horses / EAGULLS) album. Those who like punkier, Gallows-esque, stuff will enjoy tracks like opener ‘Good As Dead’ and lead single ‘The Breakers’. Those who like more traditional metal will go for numbers such as ‘White Devil’. And somewhere inbetween can be found the tripartite epic of ‘See The Old Lady Decently / Buried Although/Amongst Those Left Are You’, all 14 minutes of it to bring the album to a properly climactic close.

Neat little touches dot the album, too. There are some amusing titles and some very gentle sections to provide just enough contrast in the recordings – the coda to ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’ is especially lovely. The more often you listen, the more little surprises you find.

Following exactly what Reynolds is going on about isn’t easy at times, but some sympathetic production allows lines such as "We’re all fucked", "Suffering suffering suffering" and "Can you put a price on my head?" to come over pretty clearly, so we can be reasonably certain that he’s not a happy bunny. Which is great, because virulent love songs and this entertaining angry chaos wouldn’t be a happy mix. He’s right when he says towards the end "There is nothing groundbreaking, there is no revolution", but who needs either of those things when you’re being entertained anyway?

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