– The Gaze Inward
Sheep Records, 2007
by S J Holetz
This week, I was pointed in the direction of Seattle
experi-metal purveyors Hunab Ku
[MySpace] and their
recent debut album The Gaze Inward. I had heard the band compared favorably style-wise to other avant acts such
as Dillinger Escape Plan and personal favorites Cephalic Carnage, so I was looking forward to giving this disc a spin.
The album kicks off with
“houdini’s achilles heel”, which chitters and rages with insane glee
before dissolving into
molten puddle of sound, an excellent opener.
synthetic locusts”, which could have been cribbed directly from the worst of Skinny Puppy’s
“murmers of asmodai” mixes things
up, a grab bag of driving metal and jazzy interlude which proves
not compelling. I really dug the calliope-esque strains of fourth track “the departure”, which pulses along creepily, although
my hopes for the band to metallicize that wheezing melody never came to fruition.
This was remedied however in the
next track, arguably the CDs best. The brilliantly titled “pecking out
glass eyes” finally gets down to some professional grade crunch after a three song hiatus, attaining a nimble yet heavy groove.
Next up: “midnight assassin”, which is every bit as cool as the title
would indicate, and a fine example Hunab Ku’s
ability to extend their sonic pallete with sound effects and electronics, using them to accent a monstrous industrial riff.
“teetering on the edge of
nothingness” provides a properly metallic closing bookend to the
delicate instrumental constructions with blizzards of crushing distortion, definitely a strong finish.
Overall, the strength of this
brief outing are the vocals, which are truly inventive, covering a
wider range of screams,
shrieks, growls, roars, croons, moans, whispers and gurgles than most of their contemporaries. The CD clocks in at a brisk
25 minutes or so, with several of the songs under 2, so I was really left wanting to hear the band expand even further on some of
the musical canvases contained herein. While that may sound like a criticism, I think it's a great sign for the future, as
I was definitely left wanting more from this incredibly creative group. For these reasons, The Gaze Inward is well worth a listen.
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