With so many well-established metal acts like Megadeth, Dream Theater and Machine Head releasing albums this fall, it is refreshing to see more recent bands coming out with new material that stands up to bands who have been doing it for decades.
Case in point, Brooklyn’s Hull: The band released its debut album, Sole Lord, in 2009 and has returned with Beyond The Lightless Sky on the End. In the production of its second album, Hull teamed up with Brett Romnes of I Am The Avalanche and Billy Anderson, whose production resume includes the Melvins and Eyehategod. The result combines punk thrash and sludgy, wonderfully brutal metal.
Opener “Earth From Water” barely wastes any time building up, immediately jumping into a double-bass stampede, lead by torrential, growling vocals. About halfway through, the song takes a progressive turn into the psychedelic, adding delay effects as the perfect accoutrement to the guitars and bringing down the drums to minimal beats on the kick and toms. Maybe because it’s 11 minutes long and has plenty of room to do it, but if any one song on the record exemplifies Hull’s sound best, “Earth From Water” is it. Another album standout is the title track, “Beyond The Lightless Sky.” It moves effortlessly back and forth between hardcore punk-infused rampages and slow, immense breakdowns.
On the album as a whole, the guitar riffs are what stand out the most from the thrashing drums and growling vocals. They’re downright elegant at times, a fantastic contrast to the otherwise intense soundscape. With most of its song titles having to do with nature or the elements (“Fire Vein,” “Wake The Heavens, Reveal The Sun”) this album, like Hull’s sound in general, is much greater than everyday life on Earth. As its website proclaims “HVY FKN MTL,” Hull is a band that knows its strengths an needs nothing unnatural or extravagant to show who it is.