I love making leaps of faith where music is concerned. I’ve discovered some of my favourite bands by doing so. The Hyena Kill were recommended to me a couple of months ago, their livae show being described as so good that I’d lose control of my bladder. Sadly, I never managed to catch them on their recent tour so there was no puddles in Audio (there may have been but I wasn’t the cause).
Seeing via social media their debut album, Atomised, was released, I fired through all eight tracks via iTunes’ nifty preview function. I liked what I was hearing so I clicked to buy it and I listened. Damn. Can I buy a second copy? It’s that good.
For a two-piece, they make a hell of a racket. And they’re one of the better duos to crop up in recent years. I’m sick and tired of seeing opening bands at gigs having only two people on-stage. And they’ve been established for a while so it’s not like they’re jumping on the Royal Blood bandwagon. Most of them are just dull.
With its stomping opening riff, “Crosses” sounds like Josh Homme decided to get really pissed off during the Rated R sessions. It’s angsty, distorted and with its lumbering opening chords, sounds like the bastard child of Queens of the Stone Age.
Unlike most two-piece acts, you’re not left wanting more ingredients to add to the pot. There’s a lot of texture and depth to the music but managing to keep things raw and visceral. It’s a balance they keep in check for the entirety of the album. Most notably though, it’s not an album you’ll play on a comfortable volume. You’ll want to take it as loud as possible so maybe stock up on speakers as you’ll be blowing a few of them.
“The Waiting Room” with Sally Mason tackling lead vocals distances itself from the rest of the pack as the band drop several gears and take a stroll in an ethereal, trippy landscape. It makes for a great closer of the first side before you’d need to flip it and listen to the other side (I don’t believe there’s a vinyl version but I could be wrong). Similarly, the final song may not feature Mason on vocals but the final and title track of the album “Atomised” is similarly slower but instead stops short of the seven-minute mark. Superbly structured as it hits peaks and valleys and after the initial shock of the first signs of aggression, they lull you into a false sense of security, making you think it’s just the intro and then they do it all over again, bringing you back down to the ground with a crash.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning the two individuals who comprise The Hyena Kill. Steven Dobb is the man who brings you the massive riffs alongside screaming his lungs out on vocal duties. There’s an abundance of effects and pedals but it’s done with flair, avoiding the pitfall of doing it just for the sake of it. As for his vocals, he has a pretty unique voice, growling and sighing part-way through songs to add extra emotion to his intonations. Meanwhile Lorna Blundell beats seven shades out of her drumkit, the finesse and panache is evident just from listening, not even having to see her in the flesh to recognise how skilled she is. Neither contributes more to the music to give its identity; rather they keep an equilibrium, complementing each other excellently.
Atomised is one of those albums that when you’re not listening to it, you’re thinking about it. It sounds like a cop-out to say I can’t pick a highlight from the album but it’s one of those albums you have to listen to in its entirety and I’m glad, with the exception of those previews, it’s how I got to listen to it. They’re also set to play Camden Rocks in a matter of days and I intend to be there. I may just have found my new favourite band.
Atomised is out now