Hunab Ku
The Gaze Inward

If someone walked up to you on the street, threw a handful of Sunkist Fruit Gems in your face and then whacked you in the nuts with a large mackerel, it’d be about as wtf surprising as the first few minutes of this album. This is the kind of spastic, dizzying assault first perfected by The Dillinger Escape Plan, but it’s even choppier and more maniacal. What at first seems like random squiggles and blasts of noise is actually quite ordered and listenable. In a way it reminds me of a sped-up version of last year’s excellent release from Florida tech-death outfit Gigan.

Unfortunately, things fall apart pretty quickly, as Hunab Ku falls into the same trap that I think plagues most spazzcore outfits – they forget how to craft a good song. And yes, I do think you can harness this choppy, spastic sound and craft a good song out of it, without compromising the key elements of the genre in the process.

None of the songs here ever seem to stay in one place for too long. They frequently and abruptly drop into slow, dreamlike interludes, complete with (an admittedly great) Mike Patton falsetto imitation by vocalist Mike Gilmore. It’s pretty clear that the Mike Patton guest-spot Dillinger EP, Irony is a Dead Scene, was big touchstone for these guys, and that’s fine. What I just didn’t dig on, though, is the fact that those slowed-down, cough-syrup-high sections seem to be inserted at random, destroying most attempts at creating a good, albeit choppy groove. Weirdness for weirdness’ sake is fine and good, but focus is not a bad thing to have as well.

To give some more context, I would have rather this been more like Mr. Bungle‘s California (which I love), and less like Disco Volante (which I sold). The overall sound and musicianship here is terrific, with some truly demented guitarwork by Luke Jaeger from Sleep Terror. It just never pulls into an experience that I’d want to listen to repeatedly.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
April 10th, 2009

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