Beyond The Lightless Sky
posted on 1/2012 By:
I admit it: I’ve been putting this review off for some time. You may have noticed that Beyond the Lightless Sky came out like three months ago, and so I apologize for my tardiness. We here at MetalReview do our best to keep up with the rest of the world; turns out that doesn’t amount to much in my case.
The main reason I’ve been procrastinating on this review is because I’ve been giving Hull every opportunity to click with me. By all rights, they should’ve. Other people seem to like them; Beyond the Lightless Sky has received consistently laudatory reviews. Their sludge / prog / ’post’ fusion approach is in my wheelhouse. And they’re a powerful live act based in my city (Brooklyn), so I see them frequently.
But Beyond the Lightless Sky doesn’t do much for me, for a few reasons. For one, it overreaches itself. This is a concept album about the Maya Hero Twins; I admire Hull’s ambition, but the sunny stoner-metal riffs don’t do the bloodstained story justice. Nor does the production do them many favors in this regard—they sound very straightforward and rockin’ while telling a tale that demands shimmery layers of sound.
Their second major problem is common for bands like Hull (and admittedly a pet peeve of mine). Rather than recruit a proper singer, they’ve chosen the vocals-by-committee route. Guys, this plan never, ever works out. Even with four members contributing vocals, the best Hull can manage is a singing/screaming hybrid that has the charm of neither.
The last is essentially style fatigue. I’ve just heard too much metal that falls into this sort of Mastodon / Baroness vein over the past several years, and so my standards for success in the niche have become incredibly high. Such is the danger of playing to a crowded field.
These complains may sound tetchy, and they are to a degree. But in today’s oversaturated metal scene, success depends on doing something novel or doing something old really, really well. Hull, despite their considerable talents, manages neither.
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