Seattle’s Himsa ‘Hail Horror,’ their follow up to 2003’s ‘Courting Tragedy and Disaster,’ is an extremely frustrating listen. Compared to their older albums, Himsa is probably their best ever here, but in the end, it just doesn’t add up. ‘Hail Horror’ has literally nothing wrong but it simply isn’t that enjoyable of a release. Sure, you could easily be satisfied with the technicality and the head-on production values, but in the end it’s the enjoyment of an album, and that’s something ‘Hail Horror’ sadly lacks.
Kirby Johnson and Sammi Curr can each flat out shred. Throughout ‘Hail Horror,’ they switch back and forth between melodic guitars over some crunchy and distorted rhythm guitar. From time to time they throw in a melodic solo that makes the experience feel even more like you’re listening to At the Gates lite. ‘Hail Horror’ simply has no bad songs musically, and yet it’s still hard to praise it. While it’s obvious that Johnson and Curr are close to launching Himsa to becoming ‘American Metal Gods,’ they simply can’t separate anything on the album. Musically, every song sounds the same, with little or no differences and everything blends in all too well. Also, a majority of the songs follow the same base structure, have the same tempo, and do nothing different at all.
This musically monotony hurts even more when Himsa really launch themselves to the next plateau on songs like ‘Pestilence’ and ‘Wolfchild.’ On ‘Pestilence,’ the song starts off with some melodic guitars layered a lot of double bass drums and uses the advanced section of the ‘Writing At The Gates Songs For Dummies.’ The song also showcases a solo that sounds copied from any worthy Swedish death metal band. If Himsa could do this throughout the entire album, they’d simply be considered one of the best bands in 2006.
After listening to the album for a while, the long songs start to show an intimation of why Himsa falters. While ‘Hail Horror’ excels musically if you take it in one track at a time, as a whole, the songs length and monotonous pattern simply hold them back. John Pettibone’s angry, in your face style sounds great at first, but while working your way through you’ll realize that a little bit of emotion or some slight differences in his shout would help with some of Himsa’s issues.
So while ‘Hail Horror’ showcases some top notch production and strong guitar work, it’s still lacking in the creativity field and it simply makes the album boring when it should be enjoyable. With a little more work, Himsa could be able to summon the band that did ‘Courting Tragedy and Disaster’ and launch themselves back to the top of the American Metal scene. ‘Hail Horror’s’ biggest merit is that it can amaze you at times and then put you to sleep later on the same song. Maybe next time they’ll get it right.
I actually didn't mind the album, I'd give it a 70% if I was judging it like that. It does get old fast, and tiresome, but the replay value of it can last a couple of days for me. Anyway, I think Seminal is the best song on the album, it's really rocking. Good review though buddy.