Hull: Sole Lord

hull_solelord

By Kevin Stewart-Panko

Vocals are one area that doesn’t get enough attention and analysis across the broad pantheon of extreme music. So, let’s talk vocals and how they apply to the Brooklyn-based band Hull. The quintet make colossal use of three guitars which augment the speaker-shredding volatility of their post-metal thunder – think the usual suspects like Neurosis, Isis and Cult of Luna and a few unusual suspects such as Buzzov-en, Graves at Sea, Minsk, Baroness and Deadbird. Sole Lord, their debut, also has some fricking awesome liner notes in which a rather flowery story pertaining to what may or may not be an Egyptian’s search for the truth of the self and the construction of the pyramids follows and complements the band’s down-tuned attack and dynamic and mournful clean parts.

But it’s the multitude of voices Hull employ that increases Sole Lord’s attractiveness to the ears. A wide variety of vocal timbres and styles – high-pitched shrieking, stoner drawl, throaty death growls and high-forehead bellowing – can be heard simultaneously signing lyric lines. Voices drop in and out, overlap, enhance and even drown one another out. Sometimes they’re in tune/key with each other, sometimes it’s almost like they’re not even listening to one another. Sometimes they sound like your average, everyday Earth-spinning-on-its-axis post-metal band or like they’re channelling Through Silver in Blood-era Neurosis; other times they almost sound choral or hymnal, like they’ve got field or chain gang songs in their DNA. All this offers a number of unique dimensions and a fresh listening experience for those of us so used to their music being driven by pounding drums and distorted guitars (read: all of us). Not that Hull don’t have a wall of amps propelling their din (check out their live set-up here: http://decibelmagazine.com/Content.aspx?ncid=334825), but it’s a treat to listen to a band that values and makes effective use of vocal interplay.

(The End Records)

8/10

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.