Review: Hella

“The Devil Isn’t Red”
(5 Rue Christine)

Zach Hill and Spencer Seim have been making music under the name of Hella for the past three or so years now. Now several amazing albums later into their currently thriving career, Hella’s latest offering, “The Devil Isn’t Red” is perhaps their strongest release to date. Eleven songs in total with a running time just over half an hour, “The Devil Isn’t Red” is a tour de force into the sporadically precise drumming of Zach Hill.

His skills are reminiscent of Damon Che, of Don Caballero fame; although Hill’s unique style is exactly that: unique, one of a kind, something to be admired. Accompanied by Spencer Seim on guitar, the duo kick out what would seem to be some of the greatest improvised music ever recorded! Although as it would turn out, none of the songs on “The Devil Isn’t Red” (or their previous releases for that fact) are improvised – which seems unusual due to Hella’s sporadic-ness and free form brand of punk/math rock.

It’s actually really unfair to such a unique band as Hella to clump them together in a genre by labeling them as “punk” or “math.” Hella’s music is a harsh blend of frenetic drums and what seem to be pointless speedy guitar riffs. Truth be told, Hella’s music is not for everyone, and their sound is an acquired taste. Though when you’re finally able to see the beauty in musical compositions where chaos, noise, distortion and unique and bizarre percussions are often the driving centerpiece of the sound being presented, you’ll probably be a fan of Hella by then.

“The Devil Isn’t Red” is an extremely great album by two of the most talented and underrated musicians currently recording some of the most original music today. Goes well with high-grade marijuana, Ritalin and people with O.C.D. Proceed with caution!