Release Date: Oct 11, 2011
Record label: The End
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Hull’s 2009 debut album, Sole Lord, was a heaving beast of downtempo-fuelled post-metal. It was a finely produced album, had plenty of girth, and the songs were delivered with ample enthusiasm—all very redeeming qualities. Nevertheless, it was, unfortunately, lacking in originality. I imagine if you were lucky enough to see the band on tour the material would have sounded phenomenal live, but on record, Hull just wasn’t inventive enough to stand out in the already jam-packed, post-metal horde.
Just who the hell are Hull anyway? Well, for one thing they're that peculiar kind of metal band that scores reviews in top indie webzines like Pitchfork, which means they must harbor some sort of mysterious hipster je ne sais quoi that, though probably simply attached to the group's Williamsburg, Brooklyn address (and maybe the telltale haircuts sported during their previous incarnation as Reservoir, but who remembers that?), has forced them to tread the fearsome gauntlet between full-time headbanging rivetheads and ironic beards bored with indie rock but too chickensh*t to admit it. Whatever stigmas may follow them, though, you can't blame the bandmembers, because their 2009 debut, Sole Lord, was fully entrenched in the post-metal, errr. .
Hull don't squander opportunities to make first impressions. Sole Lord, the Brooklyn quintet's 2009 debut, offered a promising extension of the ambitiously psychedelic doom legacies of Neurosis and Isis, simply caked in the residue of stoner metal record collections. Moments of atmospheric drift, mathematical twist, and belligerent march tied together into the suggestion that this was a band to watch.
With so many well-established metal acts like Megadeth, Dream Theater and Machine Head releasing albums this fall, it is refreshing to see more recent bands coming out with new material that stands up to bands who have been doing it for decades. Case in point, Brooklyn’s Hull: The band released its debut album, Sole Lord, in 2009 and has returned with Beyond The Lightless Sky on the End. In the production of its second album, Hull teamed up with Brett Romnes of I Am The Avalanche and Billy Anderson, whose production resume includes the Melvins and Eyehategod.
Hull twisted heads off at South by Southwest sampling the band's moody, doomy, sometimes boisterous post-rock debut, 2009's Sole Lord, best defined by its three titles: "Endless Obsidian Abyss," "Wrath of the Sands," and "Born From Flesh and Stone." Everything's doubly so for the Brooklyn fivepiece the second time around – longer (11-minute opener "Earth From Water"), heavier (the title track), subtler ("Just a Trace of Early Dawn") – coming together on 10-minute centerpiece "Fire Vein," sandblasted desert folk. Lightless Sky's monochromatic metal erosion could use a tonal infusion, but the vocal excoriation of "False Priest" testifies these brutal ruins. (FFF Nite: Thu., 11:45pm, Red 7) .