Beyond the Lightless Sky

I rather enjoyed Hull‘s full length debut, Sole Lord as it was a nice sludgy record bolstered by  a variety of smooth layered vocals, not unlike Baroness. However, once I hit play on their sophomore record, it was apparent Hull has changed up their game a bit. For the better.

While the album still has traces of a more languid, dreamy take on sludgy post rock, overall the album is much more abrasive  and harsh, especially vocally, at times surprisingly so. It starts immediately with epic 11 minute opener  “Earth From Water” with a blackened, feral blast beat, d-beat salvo and snarling, gruff vocals and I’m reminded of the first Withered record or Fall of Efrafa‘s first CD, then it bridges into a Crowbar-ish lurch. And that’s all in the first two minutes as the track shifts and morphs into lumbering grooves and sprawling peaks and valleys. And the song’s length also signals the band’s shift to much longer songs than Sole Lord, whether due to the concept of the album (the story of two conflicting Mayan brothers), making for a much deeper album than Sole Lord. The balance is still there between traditional ebbing post rock builds and hues and epic  mountainous crescendos, but when Hull put their foot on the pedal its much more gravel than sludge.

After the vast opening track (which might be one of the most enthralling and ambitions tracks of 2011), “Just a Trace of Early Dawn” is  return to the bands more languid past with an almost Across Tundras-like Western instrumental vibe (which arises again on instrumentals “Curling Winds” and “A Light That Shone From Aside the Sea”), but the title track charges into view with a rumbling tumbling, angular lope and then a dynamic d-beat salvo before unleashing a throttling black metal metal blast. And its this ability to make these sudden, yet somehow subtle shifts that make this album such a captivating listen. You never know where Hull will take a song, you just enjoy the unpredictable ride.

Fans of Sole Lord may initially be taken aback by the band’s more abrasive tone, as even the guitars has been beefed up along with more harsh vocals, but there are plenty of nice little nods to the more fuzzed out relaxing hues of Sole Lord and returns to the harmonic layered vocals, such as moments of the burly second standout track “Fire Vein” and “False Priest”, the most Sole Lord-ish track on the album . But on the whole Hull have returned an much heavier and meaner band, and the end result is one of the best albums of 2011.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 20th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Jay

    Great review Erik. Often lurker here, seldom commenter. Definitely dug the first Hull, and your review here tells me, “buy this!” Always read your stuff. Good work!

  2. Commented by: Angel Cat

    Yeah, I enjoyed this review as well. I have never heard the first album but I like this a lot. I don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said but this is definitely a winner in my book. Perhaps not album of the year but definitely in the top ten if not five.

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