Dedicated to Uri Klangers by Hey ColossusRelease date: December 2, 2016
Label: MIE Music
Christmas comes early for Hey Colossus fans in this thunderous collection of rare tracks.
‘War Crows’ opens the compilation with five minutes of blistering chaos charging to an explosive guitar-shredding climax, it’s like a real life version of the stampede in The Lion King where seemingly infinite wildebeests and bisons trample a lion in a smouldering, dehydrated canyon. Although, the weight of those mammals combined wouldn’t scratch how heavy ‘The Drang’ is, fucking hell! Call it what you like, but in my opinion it’s sludge done right; a meaty, relentless onslaught of metal and abrasion. ‘I Am The Chiswick Strangler’ also stands out as a great heavy track perhaps influenced by hardcore or punk, it’s a frantic rush through two minutes of pent up aggression; it’s as violent and psychotic as any killer. ‘Eurogrumble PTII’ continues this tradition of fucked up sounds contorting metal, psyche and animalistic krautrock into ten solid minutes of holy hell jamming, it’s like that moment at a gig where the band start smashing their guitars into whatever equipment is around and somehow it sounds fucking awesome. Destruction is cathartic. ‘Witchfinder General Hospital’ is a fairly similar track that rounds sixteen minutes long; the effect is the same through different articulation, it’s certainly a fun listen, but I guess it’s limited by its atmosphere, which will likely see it being used to repel people from sitting by me on the train or soundtracking my meltdowns.
There’s a few tracks on the album that remind me of Nirvana whether it be the Bleach-esque ‘Drug Widow’ or the slightly more apparent ‘Horsehead’ that sounds like the missing like between ‘In Bloom’ and ‘Tourettes’ and as a result becomes an absolutely essential listen. I’m gonna offer a stretch here myself and say that I also think ‘Pope Long Haul III’ sounds like what would happen if Kurt Cobain fronted Kyuss and again that makes it a wet dream for the guitar humping, dead rockstar worshipping, musical vacuum cleaners in our ranks such as myself.
Speaking of radio friendly unit shifters, ‘Fire Up The Tambourine’ enters the album at exactly the right moment providing the listener with something easily accessible to sink your teeth into, the track was an excellent, enrapturing teaser for the album and is the lifeblood of the collection injecting a pulse and a melody into the chaos and disorder. This track is what one might call more radio friendly if that concept makes sense in this scenario, but even still it is like the single or the ladders of a swimming pool, it helps you to get out of the uncertain waters you dived into, but whilst it is necessary, the rest of the album is arguably more engrossing as a musical spectacle the likes of which few bands ever create; the passing of a decade meagrely offers, but a few artists that really construct a labyrinthian diegesis like Hey Colossus.
The greatest works of art takes us out of this reality into another, great songs do not soundtrack our lives; they encompass them, they envelop them and they evacuate us from them to somewhere different. It is refuge we find in the transcendent atmosphere of a sound. ‘Wait Your Turn’ is a good example of this…what fucking world is this from? Is it doom? Is it psyche? Is it Doctor Doom? The bewildering cacophony is something truly extraordinary, its ritualistic, guttural vocal delivery is possibly the best of any Hey Colossus track and the most unique performance I’ve heard from a singer this year. The track’s abrasion and brutalism in many ways reminds me of Nine Inch Nails in the early 1990s, but I can also see it drawing comparisons to the band’s label mates Gnod (who are also fucking insanely brilliant), it’s relentless enough and it’s powerful enough. The decision to finish the album with it was smart, fuck all will top that.
This is a solid compilation album from one of the most must see bands in the UK, I haven’t even covered all the best songs ‘cause the diversity of it is such that I’d be rambling on and on, what I will say is that if you love the opening of In Black and Gold and you like the less noisy stuff from the band there’s some stuff for you as well, but personally I love that this collection followed the slightly lighter Radio Static High with a resounding weight. The high is gone, the radio is gone for the most part, the static is turned up to eleven. It’s an ear-smashing delight.