Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Current renderings

Clearly not letting the departure of drum demigod Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, Melt Banana, Discordance Axis, etc.) dampen their enthusiasm, Hex Machine are back with a new sticksman and a pig-ugly four-song ruckus, all sloping, gluey riffs, awkward tempos, and stumbling, low-end thunk.
Clearly huffing fumes from the same grotty gluebag as the Melvins, Hammerhead and The Jesus Lizard, ’Run To Earth’ is a monolithically gnarly chunk of slavering AmRep noise rock, harking back to that golden age of recklessly overdriven guitar scuzz when uncouth, straggle-haired boys and girls really knew what their battered guitars were made for.
For fans of Pissed Jeans, Melvins, Hammerhead.

~Rock Sound

2/18 From Paper Thin Walls:
Run to Earth 12" EP (Molsook) Out//Now
Single: Nude Model Harvey

Once there was a city named Richmond, the capital of the great commonwealth of Virginia. It was full of drug abusers, work avoiders, students and punk rock musicians. Many were all four. And for a while there in the 1990s, it had one of the best rock scenes in our weak-kneed nation, a scene, as Hyman Roth says of Moe Green in Godfather II, "of vision and guts," a scene that mixed scuzzy punk and heavy metal until you couldn't tell the difference. Buzzov-en, Sliang Laos, Human Thurma, Mao Tse Helen, Kepone,, Ladyfinger, King Sour, the list went on and on. Just amazing. Of course, it went absurdly under-documented; comps, singles and the occasional album on tiny labels scattered hither and yon. Richmond never had a Dischord, a Merge or Sub Pop to record its greatness. Someday, someone will knock out a best of Richmond: The Bush/Clinton/Bush Years 2-CD comp and everyone will realize just how much the current wave of metalcore guitar morons owes to this hung-over burg.

Hex Machine takes you right back to those heady days. Guitarist Trevor Thomas (ex-Human Thurma) is lead screamer here, joined by bassist Paul Webb, guitarist Scott Hudgins (ex-Sliang Laos, currenty Tulsa Drone) and drummer Chris Gallo(Mao Tse Helen). All the elements of classic Richmond math-wrath are here: biohazardous (or is that Biohazardous?) riffs that avoid Helmet-y drill-press boredom for a slightly beery flail, drums that move the song from part to part, a bass somewhere in the mess and utterly head-scratching shouting. "This is what I'm told," Thomas yells over and over. Well, I'm glad one of us knows what he's talking about. - JOE GROSS

Hex Machine - Run to Earth EP
With the four song Run to Earth EP, Richmond, Virginia's Hex Machine brings to mind the more subdued parts of Keelhaul and The Jesus Lizard mixed with the rolling rhythms of Unsane. Given that even at their most low-key, the first two bands were still pretty tweaked, I'd say Hex Machine's found themselves a good direction. What I liked most about Run to Earth is how thick it sounds. The bass and drums are amped up, serving as the driving force behind the riffs. What I liked the least was the last song, "Haunted Doll Factory," which traded that chipped tooth brawler vibe for a sort of sleaze rock sound. It was completely bad, but I would've preferred something with the same punch-to-the-gut qualities of the three killer tracks that preceded it.
--John Pegoraro (

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