Virginia’s latest gift to the neo-metal/grunge arena is the band, Hurt and the only effective way to describe the sound on their debut cd, “Vol. 1” is to resort to comparisons. Considering that their sound is fairly unique this approach is quite the paradox, but if it will get you to get a copy for your own collection, it’s worth the try.
Immediately, comparisons to Tool, Disturbed and a less campy System of a Down come to mind after listening to the eleven tracks that make up Vol.1. Lead singer J. Loren Wince is a more than capable singer and his vocalizations render memories of Eddie Vedder when he was still hungry, Scott Stapp, when he was still respected and Maynard James Keenan, when he was the new sound on the street. Yet Wince manages to keep the listener on their toes trying to guess what sound he’ll evoke next. He dips his tongue in the waters of angst-ridden scream core and without a turn signal, can easily switch to a melodic whisper that has you begging for more and wondering if he just enjoys playing the vocal field or is in need of a mood stabilizer. Regardless, the result is a potent preview to what is yet to come from this foursome.
The 'we’re ready for mainstream radio' track “Rapture” is the best of Vol. 1’s offering and is a showpiece for the collective talents of Wince, drummer Evan Johns (yes, THAT Evan Johns), guitarist Paul Spatola and bassist, Josh Ansley. It taps into the best of Wince’s vocals and equally showcases the talents of Spatola’s guitar work and the marriage of Johns and Ansely who never try to overcome each other but instead serve as a solid stanchion in each of the tunes.
Raised in a strict and religious household has obviously provided good fodder for Wince’s lyrics and artistic torment. As conventional as it may sound, Wince appears to be singing from experience and not what he believes will be the ear candy of the moment. This not only adds to the depth of the band’s sound, but to the believability that this is no ordinary marketing machine, but a band with artistic integrity to back it up when asked to.
The repeated use of the 'megaphone effect' on Wince’s voice can become a bit monotonous at times as it is used in more than one song throughout the entire cd. It may be the result of wanting to add arty flavor, but it’s been done too many times before, and honestly, Wince’s vocals taste just fine without the over-production.
Still, “Falls Apart”, “Forever” and “Dance Russe” are other forget me nots that will keep you enthralled throughout the entire cd. Hurt builds on the layering technique in not only their lyrics but musical structure as well. If you’re looking for a simple hook and even simpler lyrics you won’t find it here. Instead, songs like “Falls Apart” twist and turn keeping your internal compass on edge.
Hurt’s debut combines the best of both worlds; accessibility and edginess. Currently on tour with the Alice in Chains redo, the band has the opportunity to fine tune their chops and prepare for the release of Vol. 2 , already written and recorded and awaiting distribution. If it is half as compelling as Vol. 1, you’ll want to start making space in your cd rack now as Hurt may just be the next best thing.
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