After a sudden name change and a brief hiatus, Nottingham rabble-rousers Heck (formerly known as Baby Godzilla) have finally unleashed their debut offering, Instructions, onto the public. As an outfit known predominately for their chaotic live shows, does their material transition as well in the studio as it does to an intimate audience?
- Good As Dead
- A Great Idea Bastardised
- The Great Hardcore Swindle
- Don’t Touch That Dial
- The Breakers
- White Devil
- I. See The Old Lady Decently II. Buried Although III. Among Those Left Are You
From the opening chaos of Good As Dead to the closing moments of the record’s fifteen minute long ending opus, it’s clear that Heck are here to prove that they’re not just the live band you stand a good five meters away from. Throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the mix, the musicianship on show here is staggering. Each and every member of the band makes themselves known throughout the ten track odyssey, with each element getting their own respective spot in the limelight amidst the ferocity. From slapped bass to Spanish acoustics, Instructions has it all. Although it may not be for the feint of heart.
After countless singles and brief two-track E.P.’s, it seems that Heck have finally found their sound. Despite it’s sheer determination to rattle the teeth from your skull, Instructions doesn’t skimp where it’s the most important: the songs. Sing alongs in Good As Dead and The Breakers showcase a band with an intimate understanding of their craft, and the sheer ingenuity and variation of the closing number prove that Heck aren’t just here to give you the bare minimum. Standing at a daunting fifteen minutes long, not a second is wasted, with the track remaining fascinating throughout. Its here we really get to see that as far as this band goes, every single member pulls their weight just as much as the last. Some of the riffs on the record are second to none, and drum and basswork is staggeringly impressive, with specific focus on the stickwork. Many bands of this ilk seem to have a particular allergy to utilising their toms, but not Heck, making clean use of their deep, almost tribal tones.
As our first real indication of what this band can do, Instructions manages to both surprise and reassure throughout its 43 minute running time. Breaks in the madness to provide the listener with short bursts of serenity (in the form of refrains of opening track Good As Dead) add pacing steps throughout the no holds barred experience, before throwing us back into the scattergun guitars of their more fierce work. Production here is impressive, as the record manages to retain the band’s signature fuzzed out, almost indistinguishable style with a sense of clean cut, precision studiowork. By not letting the record become too well polished and keep the edges rough, we’re given a piece of work that serves as a perfect companion piece to the shows we’ve all read so much about.
To put it quite simply, Heck have managed to pull of a feat very few bands of their genre have succeeded in. By being able to take their energy used on stage and condense it into three minute long scraps of absolute chaos and ferocity, the band has managed to bring the experience of Heck into your home, your headphones. It’s one thing to take the impossible and make it so, but it’s another to do so and deliver some of the most aggressive, uncompromising hardcore I’ve heard in years. Writing this review has been agonising, because it’s really something that needs to be heard to understand, and no amount of critique can prepare you for one of the best albums that this year has to offer.
Instructions Is Out Now Via NPG Industries