I can't stop listening to this band. They're pretty much all I want to hear these days, everything from the music to the words, it all just fits. I got this 7" through a few days ago now, and I've spun it a bunch of times, not knowing whether to write about it or just fucking enjoy it. I've decided it deserves writing about.
Opening with piano of all things, this debut record sets the tone for what would be an extremely short-lived, but extremely prolific and important band's output. 'Epidemic' lulls you into a false sense of security with those haunting chiming notes before the drums burst through like a dawn raid. The majority of bands working within the crust ouvre stick to the tried and tested d-beat rhythm, but HHIG are not like the majority of bands. They have complex rhythms, tempo shifts, blending styles without any sense of showing off. They might have created filthy, distorted, snarling beasts of songs, but goddamn these guys could play.
So the first track gives you a taste of this being something far higher than your average blast of disortion and rage. The heavy section gives way to gently plucked strings, calm before the storm, a dynamic they would use many times throughout their future discography.
Anyway, the guitars and bass growl to life, prowling the perimeter before Todd Burdette's hoarse howl joins them. My interpretation of the lyrics 'Conquered lands will soon forget the human cancer that infects...' are of the cold, raw desolation of the Earth that almost inevitably awaits the extinction of mankind (little crust reference for ya there!). The world has been turning long before we were a single-celled organism, and it'll be turning, a shallow husk, long after we've all rotted into the barren earth and our bones are dust.
They perfectly encapsulate the post-apocalyptic mindset in a single line. Most artforms spend hundreds of pages, hours of film, and whole albums trying to achieve this.
'Headcount' continues in much the same vein, adding in a dissonant guitar tone that countless bands since have emulated. It makes for uncomfortable listening. Which I suppose is the point. This was an band uncomfortable with the way the world was going, who decried advancements in technology, the computer age, as the surveillance tools of the governments and big business. In fact, I'm sure they would hate the idea of me sitting here analysing their music and words instead of being out making a difference for good in the real world. I'll do it tomorrow. Or sometime. Apathy will be the death of us all.
I don't think I've ever rambled so much during such a short record (grand running time of just under 13 minutes). But they make me think, to fire up long-dormant synapses in my brain, to have an original thought or two for once in my life.
'T Minus Zero' is a short sharp shock of despair, clocking in more misery in 29 seconds than you'd hear in an entire My Dying Bride album.
'Unvisited Grave' is a song for our uncaring modern age. More distortion and shredthroat ranting about man's inhumanity to man. The most posi person in the world would be left contemplating just how despicable we are as a species by the time the needle pulls up from this side of the record.
The second side opens with 'Internally Bleeding' isn't any cheerier. Face it, by this point all optimism you once had has been drained. This is the audio equivalent of Clockwork Orange-esque brainwashing, determined to increase your cynicism and hatred for mankind tenfold. I bet these guys were great fun at parties.
'Richter' is the sound of the split-second before the bombs drop, when you realise no thickness of concrete can protect you. There are thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads still in existence out there. Just incase you needed reminding, y'know? Amidst your day-to-day hardships and personal problems, your entire life and everything you ever cared about could all be reduced to wasteland and rubble for reasons entirely unconnected to you. Not something people like to think about as the try to get by in each of the 6 billion plus lives being lived. See what I mean about rambling? THIS SONG IS 45 FUCKING SECONDS LONG AND LOOK WHAT IT MAKES ME THINK!
'Marry and Reproduce' is a subject a bit closer to my own personal views, and is one of my favourite songs full stop, not just by this band. The continuation of the species is a basic function in most people's wiring, they need to see their bloodline extended, their name carry on. I see no sense in it. Bringing another life into the world seems a selfish act. People buy into this life pattern out of a sense of duty, because it's just what you're supposed to do. Everything in society is geared towards setting you on that path. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, all I'm saying is that most people never seem to question it. There are other ways to live your life, you hold obligations to no-one. I have had people laugh in my face for believing this and daring to want a life different from theirs.
'Senseless perpetuation of the human race in the name of tradition'.
Piercing feedback introduces 'The End Result Of 11 Months In Prison', a roar of righteous revenge plotting, before it gives way to more sparse piano notes. The music fades out as it faded in 13 minutes and a million thoughts ago.
Listen to this band. REALLY listen. They're not just another white-on-black scrawled name sewn onto someone's fashionably-ripped, crust-chic leg garments. They were, ARE, important, and they will open your mind.