Underground music, in whatever genre it might rear it’s head and be associated with, should always be dangerous. It should always convey a sense of emotion that cannot be found in pop culture. The music should make you feeling something that cannot be bought at Best Buy. Because, above all else, that’s what makes independent music so powerful. That it’s not written by a crew of producers and sent through the corporate machine to be spoon fed to and digested by the masses. Enter upstate New York’s Hush. A five-piece wall of rage and fury directed at our splintered, shattered world. A call to arms for those bold enough to engage and scream back at the encroaching darkness which has enveloped humanity. A fascinating, compelling project that bleeds sincerity and heart for their music, which is often something lost these days thanks to a focus on who play can more technically or look the most grim while posing yet again in front of a graveyard or a brick wall.
From the moment one presses play or drops the needle onto the record titled Unexist, Hush’s first full length is a concrete slab dropped straight onto your chest. Similar to early Cult of Luna (think their self-titled lp and The Beyond), with a heavy dose of Neurosis, Unexist is a compelling, heart-wrenching album of the highest caliber. From moments of the morning sun rising over a fog-choked valley, to the sound of earthquakes tearing up the coastline, Unexist is a testament to the fact that underground music can still be awe-inspiring and dangerous. Hush are one of those special projects capable of rendering speakers useless and snapping bones with their down-tuned, sludge-filled approach, all while maintaining an emotional level and depth to their music that is often lost in the contest to be the heaviest band in town.
“Solus,” the first track, opens up with what could described as the rock-biter from The Neverending Story, Pyornkrachzark, awakening from a deep slumber. For being the opening track, Hush have shown a take-no-prisoners attitude and sound in terms of how damn heavy they are. A deep, fuzzed out bass echoes just underneath the massive riffs and thunderous drums, while vocalist Charles bellows out from the very core of his being. “Eater of All Things” follows this tremendous opening with a Times of Grace-sized riff that explodes right from the get go. As the second track for the album, the song itself really shows what this band is capable of. Hush craft a monstrous feeling on this track, which shifts into a shockingly somber mid-section and close that leaves one feeling almost like they’ve suffered a deep, personal loss that they’ve only started to comprehend. It’s rare these days for me be so quickly impressed with a band. Within two songs, I was in love with what this album contains.
When it comes to these type of bands (which I refer to as “thinking man’s metal”), the last song is usually the longest and even at times, the hardest to get into. It’s a closing statement in terms of what this type of project is all about. At this point in the album, my body and soul were broken from the spiritual and musical onslaught that Hush unleashed upon me. In all honesty, I just didn’t know if I was “man” enough to handle any more of it, which is a testament to how fucking good this album is. “Splendor” does an exceptional job of closing this album out, and for my efforts of bucking the fuck up, picking myself up off the ground and basking in their final offering. I really couldn’t think of another song on this album which encompasses the band’s entire sound and ideas to close this one. From start to finish, it had the feeling of embarking on solemn journey across a vast, dreary landscape. Occasionally glancing back into the distance, as the uncertain future looms before you. Being able to properly close out an album isn’t the easiest task. A band can write a ton of great songs, but if they don’t mix well with each other when placed on an album it can really butcher the best intentions. Hush close this one out perfectly, and upon completion left me excited to jump back into the first track and experience this album yet again.
Without any hesitation, this is an album meant to absorbed by oneself, alone and open to what Hush have crafted. At moments, they tread a fleeting beauty while their more bestial, anger-driven segments lay in wait to pull you back down into the water. This album plays out almost like the end of the world would sound. Tragic, angry and at times absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Like witnessing the sun expand and consume the earth, forcing one to really let go and accept one’s fate while staring down the inevitable, burning end. Unexist as a whole plays out its heavy sound with a meticulous approach that is often hard to nail down in this post-stoner metal genre. Beyond the huge riffs and abrasive bass lies a deep and rich experience that really transcends what heavy music can be. Neurosis started it all those years ago. Isis, Cult of Luna among others followed suit in this musical direction. With this release and the fact that they are now in the process of writing new material, Hush might just be the new heir-apparent to the throne of thinking man’s metal. Unexist is by all means a fucking dense journey, one that can topple mountains with its sound and message. One that shows a vast amount of potential in regards to what this band is capable of doing together. I want to seem them push their limits and really explore what sound they can create on future releases. I want them to wipe out life on this planet. I want them to continue delivering this earnest, heart felt projection of emotion onto this cancerous world. Because we need to hear and join in along with their war-cry. And above all else, they need to top this fucking behemoth of a release.