Review: HURT – “The Crux”
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Record Label: Carved Records
Hurt is set to release their latest album, The Crux, on May 1, 2012 via Carved Records. The album was produced by guitarist Michael Roberts and the band and mixed by John Kurzweg (Creed, Puddle of Mudd, Godsmack).
The writing and recording of the band’s previous album, Goodbye to the Machine, was done during a tight time-frame and with the added burden of having to replace a band member just prior to the start of production. This time around the band had more time to collaborate on the development of the songs for The Crux. “It was really important for us to get this right, so we took our time and put everything we had into it,” J. Loren notes in Hurt’s bio.
The Crux, like Hurt’s previous efforts Vol. 1 and Vol. II, is not simply a collection of individual songs. There are also solid production elements and a congruous stylistic undercurrent that binds the music on the album together as a cohesive work. Rek Mohr explained to Type 3 Media, “…a lot of the frustrations that we had, a lot of the anger comes out very vividly on this record. I would liken it to the Volumes but a whole lot angrier.”
Piano. Guitar. Then vocals, bass and drums. The first track, “So When,” comes alive and reaches for your throat. Then the chorus kicks in with layers upon layers of vocals and lifts you up then crushes you. “You swore that you’d die if you leave me, So why are you still breathing?” This track is a good representation of how the band has amalgamated the tones of their last two albums and added a dose of ire. That’s it, I’m already hooked.
The album continues through ten more tracks of compelling compositions, each with it’s own personality. “Eden” is loaded with jarring key changes and chord progressions, and then transitions into “Links and Waves,” an unwavering expression of bliss. “Sally Slips,” one of my favorite tracks, sashays its way through the verses until it begins a climatic rise into the chorus with the line, “I could neither fuck it or cover it, I’d rather smother it.” Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it.
“When It’s Cold” is a deeply painful and disturbing song with matricidal undertones and features a killer riff and growling basslines. Every time the track ends I find myself reaching for the replay button. This is followed by “Adonai” which is well positioned to be an epic track from the album and is likely to stir up some lively debates regarding its thought-provoking religious theme.
“Cuffed” follows “Caught In The Rain,” and may be the surprise track of the album with a dynamic sound that’s a bit unlike anything Hurt’s offered previously. The range of emotion put into the vocal performance of this song is unparalleled. Weeping violins, punchy guitars, and where the hell did that fill come from?!?
“How We End Up Alone” has great sound and a relatable theme that makes it a good choice for the album’s first single. It’s more approachable to the masses on radio and gives listeners a suitable first taste of the music on the album. “Numbers,” which was originally released in 2010, has been reworked for the album. The most notable difference is that the mix sounds more lively and crisp. The album closes with the lighter mid-tempo piece, “The Seer.”
Musically, this is the tightest line-up of the band I’ve heard in years. Bassist Mohr and drummer Victor Ribas sound like they’ve been playing together for years, the guitars and other instrumentation have never sounded better, and it’s impossible to adequately put into words the quality of effort that Loren puts into the lyrics and vocals. “These are the finest musicians I’ve ever worked with, and we’ve regained the sense of brotherhood that the band had in the beginning, with everyone united to achieve a common goal,” states Loren. And it shows.
When you listen to many of the bands on today’s Active Rock charts the music sounds like it was pumped out of the same writing and production machine. The problem becomes that it’s difficult to stand out and claim any shred of artistic integrity when you sound like every other mainstream act out there. Hurt rejects such a formulaic approach to creating music and proves it with the tracks they laid down on The Crux. The result is an album you can listen to over and over and take away something new each time.
- So When
- Links and Waves
- Sally Slips
- When It’s Cold
- Caught In The Rain
- How We End Up Alone
- The Seer