Reviewed: [May 2021]
Released [2021 Century Media Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
No strangers to grand thematic works, Italian tech deathsters Hideous Divinity do something more along the lines of a conceptual short story with their latest effort, the LV-426 EP. The band spin an “Aliens”-inspired yarn chronicling the experiences of the character “Newt,” the young girl Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley spends a good part of the film trying to protect from alien xenomorphs – including the queen “bitch” – over just three songs here.
Well really just two, since the third is a cover of Coheed and Cambria’s “Delirium Trigger” from their own “Armory Wars” sci-fi saga, though the song itself has an Alien-ish bent in its narrative, notably “Parasitic cyst, I can’t stand to watch. It’s coming up and out of your chest.” Which leaves only about 11 minutes for Hideous Divinity to tell Newt’s tale.
So LV-426 doesn’t mince words and gets right down to business with “Acheron, Stream of Woe” where all is good and fine in the mining colony of Hadley’s Hope until the “monsters come at night” leaving Newt as the sole survivor. “Chestburst” that follows is pretty self-explanatory to anyone who is familiar with the Alien franchise, as that is how baby “aliens” are born after the facehugger parasites find a hapless host in which to lay their eggs. And once burst from the chest, they quickly grow to become steel-jawed murder machines with acid for blood – every bit the monsters Newt’s mother told her were not real.
The musical accompaniment is suitably epic and frenetic, yet somehow equally concise. Mixing stunning technicality with keen melodies, jaw-dropping velocity and time changes, occasionally massive grooves and majestic sweep, the songs take on a genuinely cinematic air – especially as the band weave bits of soundtrack-inspired flourishes in the guitar swirls and flighty, black-metally trems on “Chestburst” and “Acheron’s” imposing death march intro and eerie synth outro.
The cover of “Delirium Trigger” fits right into the EP’s context as the band transform the song from the post-rock/prog hues of the original into a turbulent, tech-death behemoth – even with the brief piano foray in the middle. The lilting vocals and chill, mid-tempo pace of Coheed’s version get a substantially more aggressive going over, with Enrico “H.” Di Lorenzo’s burly roar, Giulio Galati’s blast beats and the band’s clenched-teeth intensity perhaps better conveying the song’s inherent sense of isolation, dread and terror than the original.
Hideous Divinity pack a lot of ambition into what ends up being remarkably tidy package on LV-426. Yet it is ultimately quite fulfilling and often quite sensational. The three tracks get the band’s laser-focused attention – perhaps a side “benefit” of pandemic inactivity – and they make it all work, even with their rather dizzying arrangements. Much more of this probably would have been too much, for the band and the listener, so kudos for them knowing when to say when.