The Hyena Kill - Atomised
Armed with this stunningly pissed off record, The Hyena Kill have world at their feet and now they’re gonna kick the living crap out of it.
Words: Phil Weller
In an age where, for many, the growing trend is going against the current of full length albums, in favour of shorter, more ‘consumable’ releases, The Hyena Kill’s hugely anticipated Atomised sticks its middle fingers up to the naysayers. Eight tracks of seismic, cathartic fury, it is the showcase of a band which has been doing our city mightily proud for a long time, building a reputation across the nation with a series of single and EP releases. Here, their most potent tracks, alongside fresh doses of anarchic groove rock stand tall, proud and, frankly, unfuckable with. My heart palpitates with pride when this record pummels my ear drums, kicking it into a hellish overdrive and I've long since cut the breaks. It's the perfect medicine to blow your blues into smithereens.
And that’s exactly the point. “There’s nothing more therapeutic than screaming your head off,” says vocalist/guitarist Steven Dobb. “When you’ve had a shit day, its incredibly cathartic to step into a rehearsal room and just make the loudest noise imaginable.” It is that soothing-through-voraciousness aesthetic that has stained The Hyena Kill’s high velocity noise making since day one. Witnessing them evolve into what is now both a feral and ferocious beast, but also one that is slick, professional and level-headed, executing their live and in studio performances with a charismatic and gilt edged conviction, has been an absolute pleasure. What’s more is that, as opening track Crosses begins to rattle through your speakers like a freight train in the dead of night, you feel the force of the whole of Manchester’s alternative scene right behind them.
That track, the record’s lead single, is the perfect introduction. It’s rumbling, discordant intro tipping its hat to Deftones before Lorna Blundell’s trademark avalanche drumming adds the thunder and the whole thing kicks in with the thump of a firefight between Tool and Helmet. Dobb gives his greatest, most dynamic vocal performance yet, sounding vulnerable and impained on the verses and monstrous in the pile-driving chorus. “The fever is waiting for you” he sings and right there and then, the album coats you in its filthy, virile cloak and encapsulate you with a vengeance.
Your Loss is all adrenaline and venting over riffs you wouldn’t take home to your parents, while the punk ravaged Ramones-during-The-Blitz Tongue Tied later adds a boogieing freneticism and gothic visage. Choke reeks havoc over the staunch foundation Blundell’s rampant blues shuffle and the planet smasher Still Sick is painfully melodic, an ear-worm with a switchblade knife. The riffs that close out Erase You sound like tumbling skyscrapers – unstoppable, unyielding – while the title track shifts things into a down trodden but equally as punishing bluesy refrain. You feel every ounce of passion the band has here poured into their music, you can see bulging veins and it takes your breath away. This isn’t for the feint hearted. Yet the track keeps giving, taking you into a long, winding, emotive and hugely atmospheric instrumental passage which unveils yet another side to the twosome.
Of course, I could continue to throw any gruff sounding superlative at descriptions of the songs on display here like a monkey with its own defecation, but let’s not get carried away.
The record is, in short, mighty. It is so impressive, though, because it exhibits the band’s development; how they have morphed from two musicians with a casket to blow in 2011 to a band that has everything they’ve ever wanted, everything they’ve lost, blood, sweat and sleep for, nestling in the palm of their hands five years later. They have grown more dimensional, using dynamics and different vibes as their weapons to keep interest piqued while never losing the dirt that is their staple ingredient (see Atomised and Choke). The songs on Atomised are special, their finest yet.
Now, armed with this stunningly pissed off record, The Hyena Kill have world at their feet and now they’re gonna kick the living crap out of it. Godspeed.