Released: 2011, The End Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The first time I listened to Hull’s latest full length, BEYOND THE LIGHTLESS SKY, I thought it sounded like cats fighting in a trash can. The second time I listened to the album, I thought it sounded like cats fighting in a trash can, but this time, the cats had learned to rock some meaty, sludgy rhythm into the fracas. As I listen to the album yet again, I’ve realized that the cats aren’t really fighting, but that they’ve smoked a huge bag of catnip and are simply banging out some truly heavy doses of muddy, groovin’, noisy as a cat in heat, doom.
The album is purported to be a concept piece of sorts, following the divide of 2 brothers in ancient Mayan society. One goes the way of spiritualism and astrology; the other finds his path in blood sacrifice and self mutilation. Musically, BEYOND THE LIGHTLESS SKY follows the dichotomy of the two protagonists. Each track on the album alternates between manic bouts of crushing, obtuse riffs and more serene, ponderous desert jams. It’s an interesting approach that stirs the pot nicely throughout the album’s almost 60-minute run time. There’s plenty of shoe gazing for sure, but there’s also plenty of solid moments of heavy that make up for any lost momentum, particularly with the title track and the closer, “In Death, Truth.”
My only gripes really center around the vocals on the album. It’s all pretty wide open mouth garbling, and it never really changes its inflection or approach to complement the musical arrangements behind it. The promo copy I received of the album didn’t come with a lyric sheet, and I would’ve liked to have had a better idea of what was going on in that department to see how the “story” plays out. Fingers crossed that the physical retail version of the disc includes one. Overall, the more I listened to the album, the more I enjoyed it. Not the easiest album to get into by a long shot, but given enough time and attention it starts to grow on you. If you like your noise with a plot, Hull’s BEYOND THE LIGHTLESS SKY isn’t a bad way to go.