Review Summary: Running rampart in design.
Serious Beak’s Huxwhukw
is not your conventional metal record. Completely instrumental, stretching and combining genres from sun up to sun down, this act signed to Australian metal label Art As Catharsis
utilise the limits of their musical prowess to not only create an album that’s interesting, varied and a little bit quirky. Hailing from Sydney, Australia there is something about this instrumental act that draws listeners, once caught chances are they’ll keep coming back for more. For what Huxwhukw
is, it’s disjointed, chaotic yet sublimely organised into polyrhythmic riffing, syncopated jazz beats combined with well-presented melancholic cleans, ominous atmospheric traits and devastatingly beautiful guitar riffage. In other words, this is chaos done well, ensuring the constant attention of the listener. Almost undefinable within the metal genre, these quirky guys from Sydney usually get lumped in the progressive metal category, at least you can see why. Passages are frantic, undefined, fast, slow, aggressive and sedate. Time signatures change as much as the riffs that are found within the record, but it doesn’t sound at all out of place. In fact it’s the tasteful noodling and minimalistic acoustic passages that really bring Huxwhukw
together in one stream of thought.
At its core the album is highly technical, but it doesn’t wank around either (well, too much). Serious Beak knows when to change it up, add or remove layers without becoming overbearing or muddled. Take ‘Fljóta’ for example, this track shows off the stark contrast between the usual heavy sections found on Huxwhukw
. The track blends soft with the album’s only source of voice. Soft melodic chants slowly ebb into the track thickening this track building into an excellent use of crescendo work, before building perfectly into the final track of the album. This goes to show that whilst every track is different they still manage to cohesively work with the next. The opening track is also a prime example of how the band can switch things up when moving to the adjacent track. ‘Baxwbakwalanuksiwé’ (go on, try to pronounce it) starts with some transcendently ethereal cleans before shifting full force into ‘Han’ which is as much of a genre mash up as the whole record. As an instrumental record, it’s a wonder that the band doesn’t lose direction and in turn the attention of the listener. Serious Beak never falters with their organised chaos, ensuring that those listening will stay.
Overall, Serious Beak’s Huxwhukw
is a must hear instrumental progressive metal album (although their sound is of a much wider variety). Understandably, the album is not the easiest to get into, but once there it seems to make perfect sense and after a while the album’s accessibility levels matter know more. Backed by a solid production sits between crystal clear and murky, Huxwhukw
brings a wide scope of influences to the table and is far from being a one trick pony. From beautifully presented tubular clean passages to dissonant guitar riffs this is an album that bridges the gap between worlds in a weird way. Serious Beak’s 2011 effort is not a record to be scoffed at, nor should it be ignored. Its overall quirkiness allows for Huxwhukw
to rise above its instrumental competition.