Hey Colossus - Dedicated To Uri Klangers

by Ian Fraser Rating:10 Release Date:2016-12-02

With their third album for Rocket Recordings due sometime in 2017, here is a sharp reminder of an earlier age when Hey Colossus were aurally synonymous with industrial strength paint stripper, not the comparatively more refined article they are today.

Containing a couple of cuts from each of the MIE albums plus ‘Witchfinder General Hospital’ – you’ll find they run a neat line in song titles – of which only a 100 copies were pressed on 12 inch, …Uri Klangers is an uncompromising wall of noise: a slab of inventive brutalism exemplified from the outset with ‘War Crow’, which starts with sustained howl before the spleen is well and truly vented – a yowling ferociousness and hyperactive riffing showcasing the band in its crudest, most primal state.

‘How To Tell Time With Jesus’ (from the excellent Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo album) is based on a circular motif endlessly recycling a repetitive strain of unholy modal Can doctored with early Hawkwind in particularly spiteful mood. It’s almost psychedelic, baby and see what we mean about these song titles?  An extended workout, it can lay a pretty reasonable claim to being the best thing here, before bleeding into the sonic shredding machine that is ‘The Drang’. This one is nothing less than Evil Blizzard’s ugly big brothers, the ones that have no need of the masks, musically speaking. It’s a busy thang, ‘The Drang’, and you’ll feel exhausted and maybe a little traumatised afterwards. That’s normal folks. Do not adjust your heads.

And hey, so it goes, lengthy wars of attrition punctuated by short bouts of stabbing pain such as ‘I Am The Chiswick Strangler’. Now I’m not sure it’s intentional but this one neatly epitomises those early Chiswick label releases by Motorhead and The Damned (as interpreted by They who cheated the Exorcist), with more than a hint on ‘Neat, Neat, Neat’ in the mix. At less than two minutes it might also have been called ‘Life In The Dark Ages’ bearing in mind it’s so nasty, brutish and short. It’s also in sharp relief to the marathon chase of ‘Eurogrumble Pt II’ as is the bone crunching sub-metal of ‘Drug Widow’ which presages ‘The Warmer The Belter’, a sinister slow burning concoction of understated malevolence masquerading as languid chillout. That’s a macabre little black number and none the worse for that.

Even if it were merely the noise of six men blowing their noses ‘Pope Long Haul III’ could get my vote for best track solely for the name. It’s another abrasive, Berean meal-like test of your endurance. However, it’s the rare as proverbial rocking horse droppings ‘Witchfinder General Hospital’ that’s guaranteed to raise hairs on the back of the neck while getting the old noggin bobbin’. Essentially it’s the sound of space rock crash landing somewhere between Ladbroke Grove and cold war Germany circa 1972. That’ll do for me especially when it sounds like the crew has been mainlining rocket fuel.

All things must pass as The Quiet One once said (wonder what he’d make of this) and no they don’t sound like this anymore but it was fun while it lasted and they are still one of the must see/must hear bands out there. Go compare. The ying and the yang, the sturm and the drang. Colossal.

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