Album Review: HECK – Instructions

It’s not often that a band perfectly captures the original punk spirit and manages to mutate that into something current and, whisper it, “original.” I cannot think of any act that plays with such an exciting level of chaotic abandon, I mean, what the HECK!

After a legal dispute with a Japanese film company, Baby Godzilla were forced into the name change to HECK, but their sound is no less monstrous; their reputation for wrecking stage shows being perfectly captured on these ten monumentally destructive tracks of hard-riffing, gut-wrenching, ear-splitting mayhem.

‘Good As Dead’ opens with a flurry of screaming and a series of riffs that cut and break chaotically, it’s loud and intense, but there’s a hook buried that wins through. We get little respite from then on, the wrecking ball hardcore of ‘Mope’ is agitated fury, while the eardrum assault of ‘A Great Idea Bastardised’ is full of histrionic riffs and boasts a grindingly heavy mid-section. It’s a bit like listening to free jazz with badass heavy guitars.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykC0MQNgyM0&w=100&h=480]

They fly through the punky ‘The Great Hardcore Swindle’, with its great vocal interplay, and the raw emotion of the mental ‘Fastback’. Only with the beautiful acoustic finale of the otherwise anarchic thrash-along ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’ do we get a breather.

Although this is a frantically aggressive record, there is plenty of depth; these guys can really play, as they show on the atmospheric ‘Totem’ with its grinding, bastardised blues riffage. Then there’s the swirling guitars of ‘White Devil’, the attacking blasts of chaos having an almost patchwork feel.

It is, however, the 15 minutes of the gargantuan three-part finale ‘See The Old Lady…’ that is the most sublime aspect of this record. From the frenetic opening, through soulful vocal interplay to the screaming killer riffing, the freeform storytelling ebbs and flows and batters you into submission until the atmospheric interlude and epic soaring guitars – there’s even a rip-roaring metal solo – genius!

This album is everything alternative rock should be. Buy it, tell your friends about it then go see them live.

5/5

‘Instructions’ by HECK is released on March 11th on NPAG Industries.

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Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)

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