Hey Colossus - Four Bibles - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Hey Colossus - Four Bibles

by Sean Hewson Rating:9 Release Date:2019-05-17
Hey Colossus - Four Bibles
Hey Colossus - Four Bibles

Having been going since 2003 Hey Colossus have, over their last three or four releases, become the most exciting proper Rock band around. By that I mean proper, stadium-filling Rock. The fact that they’re unassuming chaps with wide-ranging tastes and  DIY/Punk beliefs possibly gets in the way of this actually happening. But, they deserve a place up there with the other huge, weird Rock bands like System Of A Down or Faith No More. Their twelfth album, Four Bible, brings the usual flurry of line-up changes (the Farthing brothers have left and been replaced by Chris Summerlin and Will Pearce), but the core remains strong.

Bees Around The Lime Tree is a short, atmospheric opener before Memory Gore bursts in carried by the power of the Rhys Llewellyn/Joe Thompson rhythm section. Paul Sykes’ reverbed vocal comes in but is almost drowned out by the three guitarists (Pearce, Summerlin, and Robert Davis). It’s an explosive entrance and has one of those weird riffs that make Hey Colossus such an odd Rock band. More atmospherics start Confession Bay. This time Sykes’ strong vocal is relatively unopposed. The rhythm section plays hard, as usual. But the guitarists are picking out awkward arpeggios. The chorus, however, is huge. The loud-quiet-loud dynamics make the song particularly powerful, there’s even a middle eight. There is more spidery guitar picking at the start of It’s A Low and, again, there’s more space for Sykes’ odd, intriguing lyrics and equally beguiling vocal melodies. Daniel O’Sullivan of Grumbling Fur adds some piano towards the end. He appears throughout the album, adding bits of colour on piano, violin, and electronics. (Decompression) is similarly slow but is a huge, fuzzy beast. There is no vocal but it is full of odd riffs and some splendid drumming from Llewellyn. It serves as a mid-point in the album. Occasionally Hey Colossus remind me of Jethro Tull or Family – it’s the strangeness of the riffs and songs whilst they still remain somehow catchy and engaging. Sykes is back for Carcass. His voice seems more exposed and confident than on previous albums, more like the towering presence you encounter when you see the band live.  At 11 minutes, The Golden Bough is almost as long as the book it takes its name from. Hey Colossus start out slowly with the combination of rhythmic power and spidery arpeggios that have become something of a trademark. This would be approaching Space Rock if Llewellyn wasn’t hitting so hard. Fragments of tremolo and wah-wah come and go whilst Hey Colossus slowly wind their way through either space or a dark, pagan forest. They could almost be a mid-point between Hawkwind and Jethro Tull but also come across quite like Levitation. The Golden Bough is adventurous and also provides an answer for why they’re not a stadium-filling Rock band. There’s no disgrace in that, just keep pushing further out. At this moment I can’t really think of another band that would put out a song like this – and I mean that as praise. Usual service resumes with the powerful and slightly odd riffs of Palm Hex/Arndale Chins (add that to the list of unused Fall song-titles). It’s actually a bit of a belter and comes in under three minutes. It reminds me a bit of Killing Joke, another band that can combine a scary, occult feeling with powerful playing. The Killing Joke feeling continues with Babes Of The Plague which is another banger with a 70s Punk chord progression. This is exactly what I mean when I say that Hey Colossus are a huge, weird, Rock band. The album finishes with the title track. The band create a strong but dark feel but also manage to make the song into a suitably epic album closer that still manages to confound expectations by playing out with a three minute HC/DOS noise session.

Hey Colossus cover a lot of ground on this album. Some songs are immediate, some songs are harder work. It’s actually quite hard to rate it for this reason. But, sod it, I’ll come down on the side of ambition and give it a 9. They’ve probably blown their chances of the stadium tour (Pigs x 7 will do it instead) but they’re still the most interesting band making this kind of music.

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