I have to apologize, I’ve been sitting on this one for a few weeks. But you know what? This amazing Instructions record I found those few weeks ago has been in regular rotation in my iTunes. Actually, loop is probably a more appropriate word. It is so good that it has eclipsed all new releases for me for the past two weeks!
Instructions is the debut full-length album from HECK, a high-energy metalcore/post hardcore band from Nottingham, UK. I suppose saying high-energy metalcore is redundant…
While HECK certainly have strong, chaotic metalcore chops, there are very prominent stoner rock/sludge core, hardcore, and traditional metal elements all over this record (they even close out the record with a trilogy!). And they do it incredibly well.
The level of musicianship and energy on this record is unrelenting and frankly, incredible. And this merely scratches the surface. The lyrics are intelligent, the compositions are interesting, the rage is palpable, the performances are flawless, and through all of this, the band manages to regularly scrape out catchy post-hardcore hooks throughout the entirety of the album. It is so good.
Go ahead and pull up “The Great Hardcore Swindle.” Here you have a chaotic guitar riff in 7, picked up by the drums on the 6½, a Dave Sardy esque vocal melody begins, then the drums go into half time. This optimizes everything I love about post hardcore. It’s fucking beautiful, and it’s just the first 20 seconds of the song. I can spin this record, put my finger down in a random spot anywhere on the record, and find something just as amazing to love.
I’m incredibly opinionated when it comes to hardcore, punk and metal (and bluegrass, hip-hop, electronic, honky tonk, okay you get it). Tastefully blending so many styles of heavy music into one cohesive and inspiring piece is something I would have never thought possible if I could have conceived of such an idea in the first place.
HECK, I feel like it may be a little too soon in our relationship to admit this, but I think Instructions is on course to become a landmark record for me. It makes me feel things The Shape of Punk to Come makes me feel; things Gimmick makes me feel; things 13 Songs, Terraform, Houdini, and Rubber Room make me feel.