HECK – ‘Instructions’ [Review]

HECK - Instructions - Album Review

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You are lying in a field. It’s sunny. Everything is happy. Good. Nice. Yay.

Suddenly, black clouds obscure the sun. Drum-thunder rumbles for a second or so.

Then the hail begins.

Freezing, harsh, relentless. Bullet-like balls of ice fall from the sky, their journey ended only by the soft flesh of your face. You flail frantically, your hands tugging your hoodie’s hood over your head as you get up and run. Head down, eyes set on the ground, legs pegging it.

After what feels like forever, you stop and look up, your mind reeling at your new reality. There is no horizon. Sheets of vertical hail in all directions, and the ground beneath your feet.

This is all there is.

You’re Good As Dead.

HECK – formerly known as Baby Godzilla – are not your average mathcore/extreme noise band. They push everything they do to a new level – and on Instructions, they’ve created an album that feels like a universe in its own right.

HECK’s ten-track musical cosmos sounds genuinely dangerous, sparking and spitting with barely contained bigger-than-life live energy. Instructions lies about as far from easy-listening elevator muzak as you could possibly hope to get. Standard “-core”-related descriptors like “heavy,” “intense,” and “brutal” barely cover this one.

HECK’s debut album is an auditory assault course crammed with gale-force riffs, bludgeoning beats, chunky basslines, and vocals that you too could emulate – if someone dropped you feet-first into an industrial grinder. It’s consciousness-compressing to such a degree that you might need a lie down afterwards. Instructions does pitch some soft moments – the intro to Don’t Touch That Dial being one – but they’re few and far between.

Picking out highlights is tough, simply because Instructions is incredibly consistent. HECK may be hell-bent on shattering your mind to the point where you need professional help to put it back together again, but behind the harshness lies a gung-ho sense of humour and a hell of a lot of passion not just for neuron-frying music, but also for doing it right. You can tell these guys do more than merely “care” about Instructions, their songs, their shows, their videos, their fans and listeners. HECK and everything that relates to it is their livelihood, their reason for being.

If that weren’t the case, you’d be able to hear the doubt and self-questioning in the music, and Instructions would be shit. But it isn’t shit. It’s very very good. Insane album. By HECK. March 11. Yay.


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Posted on 25 February 2016

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