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Hung - "Hung" (CD)

Hung - "Hung" CD cover image

"Hung" track listing:

1. Eos (2:45)
2. Desert Of Sad (4:38)
3. Progeny (9:18)
4. Maria (4:33)
5. Left For The New Life (12:08)
6. Evil Tsar (4:46)
7. Inertia (2:03)
8. Infernal Redeemer (6:36)
9. Matter Of The Blood (7:02)
10. Sediment Of War (8:45)

Reviewed by on May 6, 2012

"Not many bands in the U.S. are doing what Hung does on this album, and this freedom from the staleness traditional death metal can fall into is one of the reasons why this is worth giving a shot."

Hung takes progressive death metal and turns it on its head by having a violinist, Lyris Hung, as one of the lead musicians. The violin is not used sparingly, like early At The Gates, but present in every song in lieu of a second guitarist. Their first eponymous album is mostly material from the band’s two previous EPs, though a few new cuts blend in. Not many bands in the U.S. are doing what Hung does on this album, and this freedom from the staleness that traditional death metal can fall into is one of the reasons why this is worth giving a shot.

The closest comparison to Hung could be Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris, though that band finds solace in songs that are 10-12 minutes on a consistent basis. Hung can go the distance, reaching 12 minutes on “Left For The New Life,” but they can be as taunting and vile as any other death metal band. “Evil Tsar” has the kind of main riff made for smashing everything in sight, and Lyris keeps pace alongside the super fast guitar with a finesse that shows her deadly skills at the violin.

Songs like “Progeny” and “Sediment Of War” puts the band into a technical category. Clean vocals and restrained guitars introduce exciting dynamics to the music. The latter track uses Lyris’ violin as a lead instrument in its early moments, marking the exception to much of the album. Other than the two strong instrumentals, “Eos” and “Inertia,” the violin isn’t very abrasive in its placement, or desire to push ahead of the rest of the band and have the attention all on itself.

On the contrary, the album’s strongest performances are when the band is locked in step and jamming out together. This is most evident on “Left For The New Life,” where having 12 minutes of space to fill is a challenge not taken lightly. They smooth out their sound, and put an extra helping of melody into the pot. Though shorter cuts like “Desert Of Sad” and “Maria” don’t have the time to give to this mode of thinking, they still have the locked-in approach any fine-tuned band needs to be in.

It’s admirable to hear a band try something different from the rest of the herd. However, there are a few bumps in the way for Hung to try to step over, and the songwriting on the longer songs could use some touching up. It’s all small issues that usually show up on the first album, only to never be heard again. The band has material already for a new album, and this will be their first true test. Without a catalog of past songs to fall back on, the question will be if the band can write and record a worthwhile follow-up.

Highs: Progressive death metal with a prevalent violin presence, each song has a unique twist to it, musicians are virtuosos at their respective instruments.

Lows: A few uneven cuts, not enough new material

Bottom line: Hung's self-titled debut is captivating progressive death metal that does things a little differently than most of their peers.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)