Album Review: Heck – “Instructions”
Heck first crawled in to the world’s ears as Baby Godzilla with their NPAG EP, a bluesy punch to the face that only hinted at the direction they were going to take. Mini album Oche filtered out some of that blues, and the band began to mutate, and their sound began to lean further towards the manic energy and schizophrenic riffage so synonymous with the band today. This is when more people started to take notice.
Then they gigged. Followed by a release. More gigging. A couple more releases. Word of their incendiary live show spread. They were going places, they were getting noticed. And then they disappeared.
It turned out people weren’t happy about their appropriation of the Godzilla name, and they were given a slap on the wrist and told to change it. So they did. And Heck was born, picking up just where they left off, continuing to ruin venues and collect fans up and down the country.
Instructions is the sound of a band doing whatever the hell they like. The ten tracks on offer throw up the Heck hallmarks of power, riffs, hooks and prog (yes, prog, we’ll come to that later). With a throat ruining scream, Good As Dead gets Instructions off to a fine start, riffs that squeal and scrape, a bass that sounds like it’s being beaten to death and drums that lurch spasmodically around the beat, and we know we’re in safe hands. This is the band they always were, and it’s okay, they know exactly what they’re doing.
Things get even more chaotic on the bass heavy Mope and the re-jigged A Great Idea Bastardised, the latter throwing in a crushing breakdown that wouldn’t be out of place on an Eyehategod record. The band’s knack of short sharp bursts of aggression is showcased on Fastback, which treats you to the most delightfully mental one minute fifteen seconds you’re likely to hear this year. The Great Hardcore Swindle, beneath its riffs and time signature hopping, hides a ton of hooks that show a band that could probably easily write a decent pop punk tune if they chose. Talented lads, these. Refusing to be pinned down as speed freak noise merchants, Totem slows things right down and sludges up your ears with a little fuzzed up bass and some swampy guitar.
But you said prog! I know I did calm down, we’re getting to that bit. Not content with adding an extra dimension to their multi-dimensional bow (does that work as a metaphor? Probably not), they’ve decided to end the album with a sixteen minute long, three part song called, wait for it… I. See The Old Lady Decently II. Buried Although III. Amongst Those Left Are You. Upon seeing that title, along with the knowledge of its lengthy run time, you might worry they’ve finally gone over sanity peak and are rapidly tumbling down in madness gulch. But like I said before, it’s okay, they know exactly what they’re doing. It’s right up there near the beginning of the review. Pay attention.
Heck have done it. They've smashed all expectations on this album as easily as they smash holes in their guitars. They may have been faced with the might of Godzilla's copyright owners, but as a consequence they only entered hibernation, soon to rise from the depths like some kind of radioactive lizard or something and become even more powerful. Well done lads.