Imagine waking up to find your head locked in a vice. Quite painful I should imagine. You’re in unfamiliar surroundings. Instinct triggers panic. All you can feel are the veins in your head throbbing to a deafening tribal march. You feel your heart pounding in time with the beat – da-duh, da-duh, da-duh, da-duh. Prickly fuzzsaw guitars stab at the rhythm, taunting the life from your pores. A voice harks like the ghostly spirit of Ian Mackaye over the top. For what seems like an eternity this ear-bleeding chaos just doesn’t stop - da-duh, da-duh, da-duh, da-duh, relentlessly, on and on and ON! As you start to feel your skull cracking under the weight of the vice you scream out for help: _AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! _
And it ends. You open your eyes. Relief sweeps across your body as you realise someone had callously set Hey Colossus’ monolithic new album _II _into your alarm clock as some sick joke, the bastards. I mean, this is punishing stuff, capable of obliterating ear drums at the most polite of volumes, let alone at full whack in the depths of sleep.
Thankfully though it’s not all slow and doom-laden, for these guys are well-schooled in the art of rocking, and thus duly crank things up for the raging ‘Horseblend’, throwing nuances of *Unsane *and *The Melvins *in to the proceedings before the 12-minute slow-burner of _‘Take It’ _takes the listener on a red-eyed and blues-fuelled detour, allowing guitarists Ian and Bob to depart on some typically meandering tangents. But it’s their limited improvisatory skills here that leave a lot to be desired, replacing hairy solos with hazy screeches and deserting the track a full two minutes before the end on a frizzled trail of half-assed feedback and nonchalant, too-stoned-to-be-bothered strumming. The murky sludge of _‘Raise The Flag’ _attempts to raise the temperature back up, but ultimately you’re left with the feeling that what you have in your hands is little more than a studio jamming session, rather than solid, well-rehearsed tracks.
But despite my negativity, it’s not well-polished technicality that drives Hey Colossus to make the suffocating racket that they do. Rather, it’s the ability to collapse your mind. And, vice or no vice, _II _achieves this only too well.
6Mat Hocking's Score