Release DetailsLABEL Ipecac Recordings
RELEASED ON 1/30/2007
There's No 666 In Outer Space
posted on 2/2007 By:
I can understand the premise of Hella turning some people off. After all, a guitarist and a drummer playing dense, spastic instrumental tunes that really aren’t ever very catchy isn’t the easiest kind of music to warm up to. There’s No 666 in Outer Space – their Ipecac debut – is a much different beast, however. What’s changed? Well besides the upgrade to Patton’s label, which is also home to Fantômas, Isis, and Melvins, among others, the line-up has expanded from a duo featuring Spencer Seim (guitar) and Zach Hill (drums) to a quintet that boasts pre-Hella members Josh Hill (guitar) and Carson McWhirter (bass), along with newcomer Aaron Ross (vocals). So…Hella…with vocals…on Ipecac. Pretty different!
Whereas previous installments were compelling mostly due to the stunning musicianship that rivals that of similar outfits Behold…the Arctopus, Orthrelm, etc., 666 is more captivating on the whole. The addition of vocals, though I could see them soiling instrumental units such as Pelican, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, et al, actually works here. Ross’s clean singing is quirky and unique – unlike any I’ve heard recently – but also manages to sidestep the ever-present threat of being off-putting (think Daughters, circa Hell Songs). Opener “World Series” proves, once again, that Hella’s music has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, which is then furthered by “Let Your Heavies Out,” “The Ungrateful Dead,” and the memorable “Friends Don’t Let Friends Win.” I’m not quite taken with the high-pitched vocalizing in “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and “2012 and Countless,” the latter repeating “There’s no 666 in outer space” so many times that it eventually becomes annoying. Offering 11 full tracks, Hella have crafted what could be likened to a fresh start, but one that stays true to the spirit and M.O. of previous endeavors.
“It means what it says – it’s putting things in perspective as far as you can relate it to anything – the cycle of how things get carried away and how the ‘mob mentality’ happens,” Zach says about the album title. “When you can put it in a different light, how ridiculous it all seems – how petty and miniscule everything is, in the concept of the universe or space.” While not exactly exploring uncharted territory with 666, those who have written off Hella in the past have a few reasons to revisit the band, and those who have been on board since being introduced to the two-turned-five-piece should also be able to listen with a renewed sense of interest to this semi-reinvention. It may or may not be their best yet, but I envision returning to this more than many other records in their discography.
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