Titanic and deeply soiled is probably the most suitable description for the second album from southern metallers Hail!Hornet. The sludge metal super group return with “Disperse The Curse”, an album that was two long years in the making. From the pedigree of the band members alone any release from Hail!Hornet has to be checked out and the new album is no exception to their acclaimed debut in being a very worthwhile investigation.
The band consists of current and ex- members from a multitude of classic metal bands and the pedigree shows throughout the release, vocalist T-Roy Medlin (Sourvein/ Buzzov*En), bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins (Weedeater/ Buzzov*En/ Bongzilla), guitarist Vince Burke (Beaten Back To Pure/Lunch), and drummer Erik Larson (Alabama Thunder Pussy/ Birds Of Prey/ Parasytic) combining to leave the listener in a state of sweaty exhaustion and punch drunk from their assault.
The most agreeable thing about “Disperse The Curse” is the overall high tempo across the album. Whereas most sludge/stoner releases consume with a slow, heavily oozing, whiskey soaked, drawl of sound, Hail!Hornet shows it is allowable and very effective to deliver a sound with some life and kick as well, they hold moonshine fuelled dirty sinister parties. The band’s sound is raw, aggressive, and as intense as acid but they shade it with hooks and riffs that make the experience and violation very welcome.
Opening track ‘Shoot The Pigs’ immediately sets the situation and tone for what will happen over the course of the eleven crushing tracks. It chugs along forcefully on striding drums from Larson and a deep throaty growl from Collins’ bass, the keys to much of the albums success.
The strong and senses foraging opener soon is eclipsed by the likes of ‘Gifted Horse’ and ‘Disperse The Curse’. The first is the albums best track with maybe the exception of ‘Scars’. The immense groove that saunters over again brilliant drums and basslines is infectious, branding the musical soul with iron clad guitar riffs from Burke. The title track is a slower burn infestation as Medlin spreads his tortured vocals over a sludgescape of noise. The track also contains the albums best moments where the drums virtually vibrate with a quick fire attack as the bass snarls its intent gloriously, stirring and impressive in equal measure.
As previously mentioned ‘Scars’ is another immense and stunning track, again leaving devastation in its wake upon a bed of outstanding drum attacks and bass manipulation. Larson and Collins have on “Disperse The Curse” brought easily the best and most creative rhythm display on any release this year and one would seriously doubt it will be surpassed.
For all the brilliant sounds and play on “Disperse The Curse” it does fall slightly short of the recent releases from Black Tusk and Sourvein and that is down to the vocals of Medlin. His grating growls and desperate tones work well in many places and are in no way bad but across the whole album they wear the listener down and at times detract from the great artistry shown elsewhere, something that a variation in delivery and attack would possibly avoid.
Despite that though “Disperse The Curse” is an excellent album and anyone with any liking of low-fi, dirty, and sonically assaulting sounds must take a listen to Hail!Hornet. As supergroups go they are one of the very best.