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HullIf the members of Pink Floyd were reincarnated as a modern stoner metal band, Hull would surely be that band. It’s hard to imagine a band as heavy as Hull being compared to Pink Floyd, but what draws the comparison is not the band’s music (though they definitely do tip their hat from time to time) but their song structure. Imagine such Floyd epics as “Echoes,” “Dogs,” or “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” redone in stoner metal form — and you’ve got Hull nailed. Headbanging, growling, deliciously downtuned stoner metal from Hull was the highlight of last night’s show at The Knitting Factory.

Hull often start with quiet intros and gradually build the song until everything is so chaotic, so bludgeoning, so brutally destructive, that you can’t believe you’re still listening to the same song; yet each change was so artfully orchestrated that it all falls into place. Then the band brings you back down, back up again, and back down again; each song tells a musical story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Hull’s three guitar attack achieves maximum sludgery, bashing your skull into the wall with a sledgehammer and smearing your brains across the floor, but I actually feel the band underutilized their three axemen. With three guitars I would hope for some nifty twin-lead harmonies, or hey, even a three part harmony — but rarely were any seen. When the band did choose to use the rhythm/lead dynamic, two of the guitarists played heavy stoner riffs while the other noodled on top; a cool idea, but a well-worn one that gets old quickly.

Hull’s drummer added to the crushing force of the band’s sound. He was perfectly in the pocket, and thanks in no small part to the club’s excellent PA and the sound guy’s stellar mixing job, the drums sounded enormous and brutal. The drum mix actually reminded me of Bob Rock’s production on Metallica’s black album, a sound you wouldn’t typically envision in stoner metal, but to these ears a very welcome one that brought the band together and made them sound even tighter.

I’ve just spent four (now five) paragraphs talking about the opening band — this should key you in on how I felt about Panthers and Big Business. Panthers brought a more rock and roll stoner vibe, akin to something like Wolfmother. Big Business were faster, looser stoner metal than Hull — if Lemmy Kilmeister’s children formed a band it would sound like this. I didn’t particularly enjoy either of these bands, but hey, it’s a personal preference; the 300 other folks in attendance sure did seem to have a good time.

The bottom line: Hull is fucking awesome. Check this band out now. Unfortunately the sound was so good last night that their MySpace recordings don’t even come close to capturing the band’s sound — but please do listen anyway for good measure.


[Visit Hull on MySpace]

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