Part dance, part rock, part hard-core trio, Victorian Halls release their second album Hyperalgesia. It is a twisted mix of screaming, heavy drums and synths, and that is not necessarily an insult. But that isn’t all that a listener will take out of this LP. There are many pop moments on this record, where a listener could sing along and punch the air.
The album starts off with a solid kick to the face in the form of the visceral opening track All Of My Friends. Lead singer, Sean Lennart, indicates the kind of emotions one will be exposed to on the album, screaming “all my friends have died, all my friends have died at the right time”. Full on, I know, but I liked it. This ‘face-kicker’ is supposed to set a high water mark for the album. It works indicate the level of intensity one should expect on the album.
Victorian Halls do return to this heavy visceral theme many times throughout the album. It is not constant throughout the entire album though. Many tracks are very pop-inspired. This does not mean they are bad or unoriginal. The song writing is inventive and the melodies are not particularly predictable. These tracks include Dissolution, Tonight Only The Dead, Home and Sun. These tracks offer a mainstream, pop-rock aesthetic, they are easily approachable and emotive.
These pop songs are scrambled into this album with these weird synthy-hardcore tracks. Not being a huge fan of modern hardcore, I did not really understand this contrast. Songs like Most Firearms are More Adequate In Killing Undead Brains is the prime example of this hardcore-esque style. Heavy drumming, screaming vocals, head banging grooves and unusual breakdowns. Not that this style is bad, I just don’t understand how it fits into an album with pop-rock tracks.
I am always going to encourage experimentation and diversity on an album. This one though, I didn’t really get. It felt a bit like a hardcore take on Muse… which I am sure there is an audience for, but yeah sorry just not me.