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Premiere: HUSH. – “Solus”

The Band

Albany’s HUSH. feature players who have logged service time in the vans of Endicott, From Ashes Rise, and Self Defense Family. Like their bona fides imply, HUSH. is a bit of a hybrid, incorporating elements of sludge, doom, and crust. The abrasiveness of their aggressiveness is amplified by an antithesis: light forays into the brighter timbres of O.G. post-rock. Sound familiar? It is, however it’s in a way you haven’t heard for some time. More on that in a moment.

The Release

Unexist is HUSH.’s LP debut following a 2012 EP. As the title suggests, the concept revolves around death. Worry not, though, as it isn’t ‘woe is me.’ Per the presser:

Each song is based on one specific representation of death, with source materials ranging from an Emily Dickinson poem, to a Wladyslaw Podkowinski painting, to a newspaper article about an actual classmate of [singer Charles] Cure’s who committed suicide by jumping from a plane without a parachute.

In a word: heavy. ‘Heavy’ is clearly the HUSH. M.O.

The Song

First off, the name: HUSH. The stylizing/spelling is intentional, lest this crew are confused with pop rockers or the worst cover band ever. There’s also a playful contradiction happening there: an all-caps request to quell the racket. The willful clash makes sense since HUSH. are often compared to the canny mind-rewirers in Neurosis, particularly their Times of Grace. Indeed, Unexist operates similarly: It takes extremes of volume-as-texture and rockets the respective decibels at the others in a game of post-metal chicken. The crash begets new forms. “Solus” is one of seven twisted children.

Yet, let’s not rush to tie HUSH. to the contemporary cohort that has turned the word ‘sludge’ from a selling point into a scarlet letter. HUSH. divorce themselves from the last decade — when metalcore gave in to its Floydian toe-testing — and return to an era that wasn’t so rigorously codified. Times of Grace is a touchstone, sure, but so are bands like Bloodlet. The word we’re grasping for here then is ‘punk.’ “Solus” is punker than most epic post- peers. The punk gene is still evident, not muted by years of splicing. It gives Unexist a sorely needed immediacy, which is the other savory contrast: HUSH., despite the meaning of the moniker, aren’t passive. Perhaps owing to the unifying group philosophy of putting it all into a live show, Unexist is quite animated. It’s, well, alive. Pretty good for an album about death.

“Solus” opens Unexist. The album will be available on June 24 courtesy of HUSH.’s own dime. Plus, don’t forget to catch the band live if you like what you hear. Charles Cure on HUSH.’s stage aesthetic: “We regard the actual members of the band as a secondary aspect to the primacy of the sound and ideas being conveyed.” Sounds like a spectacle and a worthy trip to Tinnitus City.

— Ian Chainey

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