If you have found this blog, it probably means you were searching for something that isn’t in the public eye. My intention is to promote awareness of artists that you would otherwise likely never know existed. If you like what you hear, support the artist by purchasing their music so that they can continue to create, and enjoy the release in the quality they intended.

Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Axis of Metal.

Hella - Hold Your Horse Is

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 4 June 2009

Album: Hold Your Horse Is
Artist: Hella
Released: 2002
Rating: 4/5

Hella are an instrumental math rock band made up of two guys. Guitarist Spencer Seim and drummer Zach Hill play difficult, twisted songs that ignore conventional structures and have a strange, unique sound. The music is definitely an acquired taste, but for people willing to take a chance, it's worth it.

Zach Hill's drumming decides what direction the songs are going in. His drumming is frantic, chaotic, fast, and all over. On the first few listens, it can seem like he isn't following any time signatures or patterns, but after a few listens, patterns begin to emerge. He seems to take most of his influence from free jazz. He keeps the rhythms constantly changing and twitching throughout the album.

Spencer Seim's guitar playing is similarly fast and chaotic. His playing is ultra-rapid and jumpy. He makes runs up and down the fretboard which become twisted and mangled and bounces riffs all over without seeming showy. He displays bits of noise and surf-rock influence that pop up throughout the songs in the single note runs and bits of noise that occasionally appear.

The album is most clearly influenced by the work of math rock trailblazers Don Caballero, but this is still something else entirely. Along with the math rock influencs, genres like free jazz, surf rock, noise, electronic and a few others. Hella do remember to include melody among all the rythmic shifts and noise, you'll just have to listen a few times to find it.

Hold Your Horse Is isn't an easy album to get into, but for people willing to put the time in, there are alot of rewards here. The musicianship is superb and the songs are all good.

Highlights: "Biblical Violence", "Been A Long Time Cousin", "Republic of Rough And Ready"



Blog Archive


Guide to the Ratings
0/5 - This caused me physical pain
1/5 - This is really bloody awful
2/5 - This was below average
3/5 - This was above average
4/5 - This was pretty darn good.
5/5 - I cannot fault this epitome of perfection.

I cant guarantee all reviewers adhere to these guidelines, but work as a general guide.

Author's credit is given on all posts.