HAIL! HORNET, Disperse the Curse (2011, Relapse)

The skull:
This looks like an all-digital ode to Pushead, but that’s not so bad. I guess he’s chomping through a net or something, maybe a beekeepers mask. Does anyone keep hornets like bees? Probably not – why would you? But the more I think of it, the more this kind of looks like some kind of attack on an apiarist, what with the smoke in the background. I guess if you’re on team hornet, you’d probably have some kind of beef with team bee, so maybe that’s it. Send the skull over to fuck that guy’s hives up, show him who the real kings of the Apocrita suborder are. “I’m here to disperse the curse! And by curse, I mean your teeth, motherfucker” Wham!

The music:
I expected full-on Kylesa-style sludgy crap when I queued this up, and given the pedigree of Hail! Hornet’s members (Buzzoven, Weedeater, and Alabama Thunderpussy) I think I was not crazy to do so. But while the vocals are full-on supershitty, the rest of the band are actually alright, sounding kinda like something not-too-popular on Earache Records in 1992. The music splits the difference between English grindcore (the slow parts, ha ha) and Scandinavian death rock. It’s simple, but it’s well done, and the grimy but not fuzzy production is perfectly suited to it. The problem is, the songs don’t have a whole lot going on. They tend to inhabit a fairly narrow range of tempos, and man, that vocalist is really bad. He sounds like some run-down tweaker with pneumonia. I’ll give these guys credit for exceeding my dire expectations, and for easily besting the next best thing any of them has done, but I think they’ll need to improve a bit before I truly care.
— Friar Johnsen

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