Gildan's Guide to Good Music: Hurt - Vol. 1

Gildan's Guide to Good Music

The world of music is a vast ocean of crap - join me on a voyage to the tiny isolated islands of excellence.

As the tagline not so subtly suggests, it's really easy to find terrible music - you have but to turn on your radio, and lo, bad music abounds. The good stuff though, well that's rarely quite so easy to find, and while some popular music actually deserves the accolades it receives[1], most excellent music languishes in comparative obscurity. And that's where I come in!

If it's thought provoking, epic, eccentric, or exceptional (or possibly all of the above), I take it upon myself to write about it in the hope that at least one of the comparative handful of people who actually read my rambling and rampantly egotistical definitely quite humble reviews will find it useful[2] - or if not useful, at least momentarily entertaining; I take what I can get really.

Today I've decided I'll finally get around to writing about a group I'd originally suggested I might talk about quite some time ago.



image

Hurt

Vol. 1

Musical Genre: Hard Rock
Running Time: 56 minutes
# of Tracks: 11
Particularly noteworthy songs: Rapture, Overdose, Falls Apart

Unlike just about all the bands/projects I've discussed in this guide so far, there's a semi-decent chance that you've actually heard of Hurt, or at least heard them at one point - despite their mostly underground status, they have had a few singles that garnered some minor radio play here in the states (where they hail from). That fact hasn't gained them much in the way of name recognition though - critical acclaim certainly, but not widespread commercial awareness[3] - but nonetheless: you might have actually heard about them prior to reading this.

For those of you who haven't encountered them before, Hurt is a hard rock band that originally crystallized in its current form with the release of their self-produced and self-titled debut CD in 2000, which they followed up with another limited run album "The Consumation" in 2003 prior to their 'discovery' by a label executive and their subsequent signing to Capital Records; under the auspice of that label they then produced the album this article is about as well as the follow-up Vol. 2, before being unceremoniously dropped (more on that later).

Currently a 5-member ensemble (drums/percussion, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar/piano/backing vocals, and lead vocals/guitar/violin), frequent line-up changes[4] have left lead vocalist (and guitarist/violinist) J. Loren Wince as the only consistent element throughout the years Hurt has been active. As for the music they play, well it would be easy to just put "Hard Rock" down and call it a day, but that's only going to give people a highly inaccurate impression, for a very good reason: Hard Rock is a medium rife with cliches.

Now as someone who enjoys Hard Rock quite a bit, those tend to be cliches I actually like, but there's no denying that labeling something with that moniker has the effect of instantly providing an (in most cases) eerily accurate impression in a reader's mind of what the band will sound like. That... doesn't really apply in Hurt's case - probably the best single descriptor would be "Art Rock", except there are a great many aspects of that descriptor that do not apply in this example, not the least of which is the bit where calling something "Art Rock" tends to put folks in mind of the Progressive Rock bands of the early 70s, as "Art Rock" and "Progressive Rock" were in fact terms used essentially interchangeably to describe those bands. I can therefore no more describe them as such unqualified and have you think they sound like Pink Floyd or Rush (which they don't) then I could leave the "Hard Rock" bit unexplained and allow you to automatically assume they sound like something in the neighborhood of Shinedown (ordinarily a logical enough assumption, as most hard rock bands generally do sound like that (for the record: I like Shinedown quite a bit)).

In point of fact, presenting the band as something they are not is a large part of the reason Hurt's relationship with Capital Records (prior to that label dropping them without explanation in 2008) was so acrimonious: the label marketed them as a Metal band when they are nothing of the sort. So how do you go about accurately describing this band's sound? Well for that I will turn to... myself! Specifically something I wrote about them months ago elsewhere:

Yours truly had this to say back then:

If you're not familiar with the band already, forget what you think you know about groups that get labeled as hard rock bands, Hurt make a habit of defying convention and eschewing the rather tired cliches that most bands in their genre adhere to religiously.

...

They'll employ techniques reminiscent of alt-metal or nu-metal one moment, and cut to a soaring orchestral crescendo the next, mixing in tempo changes, quiet acoustic passages, tortured screams of anguish juxtaposed with soulful crooning, and then segue back into more traditional hard rock forms - all in one song.

Essentially it's what you get when a classically trained violinist who grew up in a household where 'Rock and/or Roll' was forbidden encounters the medium later in life and takes to it enthusiastically - hard rock approached from a standpoint that echoes the compositional emphasis found in prog-rock, but for very different reasons and rendered in a notably different style; there's a level of earnestness and authenticity to Hurt's eclectic compositions that sets them apart from music that's unusual merely because it can be.

The result is music that, for an audience approaching it with a mindset like my own, is absolutely bloody fascinating, and anything but the predictably formulaic fare one comes to expect from bands in their genre; the average Hurt song is still a uniquely powerful and emotional masterpiece. But don't take my word for it, give these tracks a listen!



With any luck, somebody reading this will take away from it knowledge about a band they did not know know about which, thanks to my rambling account, they now also know they happen to enjoy. One can only hope!

And with that boys and girls and implacable machine intelligences from the dystopian far future who have stumbled upon this whilst sifting through the ashes of our contemporary culture, another entry in the only Guide to Good Music that claims to be 100% salmonella free draws to a close - tune in next time when I review... well... okay, haven't actually narrowed that detail down quite yet, but I'm sure you'll[5] enjoy whatever it is I write about next regardless!

Other entries in Gildan's Guide to Good Music

Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
Guilt Machine - On This Perfect Day
Ride The Sky - New Protection
Karmakanic - Who's The Boss In The Factory?
The Romanovs - ...And The Moon Was Hungry...
Penumbra - Seclusion
Within Temptation - The Heart Of Everything
Octavia Sperati - Grace Submerged
Virgin Black - Requiem - Mezzo Forte
Allen/Lande - The Battle
Devin Townsend Project - Addicted
Todesbonden - Sleep Now, Quiet Forest
Beyond Twilight - Section X
Katatonia - Night Is The New Day
After Forever - After Forever
The 69 Eyes - Back In Blood
Red Circuit - Homeland
Myrath - Desert Call
Ayreon - The Human Equation
Nocturnal Rites - The 8th Sin
Witchbreed - Heretic Rapture
Arjen A. Lucassen's Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age
Agua de Annique - Pure Air
Joe Bonamassa - The Ballad of John Henry
Taal - Skymind

Want to be notified whenever I post a new Guide to Good Music article? Well now you can join the Guide to Good Music notification service group, and receive a notification whenever I post a new Guide to Good Music article! Huzzah.

[1] In which case it is certainly good music, but you don't really need me to tell you about it, now do you?
[2] Whether that's always the case is debatable, as these articles of mine generally don't receive a great deal of comments or views - but that's okay, since I write mainly to amuse myself. Feedback, while nice, is merely an optional extra.
[3] Judging by the sarcastic little hidden track on their latest album directed at "the morons at labels who think they know tunes", I'm guessing they blame Capital Records somewhat (that is what a snarky song pointing out various people are all going to die means, right?).
[4] For example: They've had a total of 9 bass players over the years.
[5] By "you'll enjoy", I of course mean "I'll enjoy". Any enjoyment you might derive from it will be a pleasant surprise!

I can't believe you didn't mention the bargain price of $3.68 for the mp3 version of Volume II on Amazon! I mean, really, you can't go wrong at that price.

Well, you could if you used that money to buy a bag of Funyuns; those things will tear up your mouth! But you can't really go wrong with this album!

I enjoy your reviews even if I don't always dig the music, because you really seem to get into the details of the band and unearth some interesting facts. It's kind of like Gildan's version of Behind the Music.

You write a whole piece on Hurt and don't mention J. Loren's voice, which is perhaps the most awesome thing ever to be put on CD?

Anyway, great review. I love Hurt, and I never see them mentioned on here so it was nice to see this pop up :)

Well, that sounds pretty good! I might even be buying some of that soon-ish.

Certainly captured my interest. Keep up the good work.

meganmeave:
I can't believe you didn't mention the bargain price of $3.68 for the mp3 version of Volume II on Amazon! I mean, really, you can't go wrong at that price.

Quite true, but for some reason pointing out that you can purchase the next album at a ridiculous price in an article about the first one seemed... well a tad bit beside the point. But hey, now that you've brought it up, I hasten to point out that if you like Vol. 1, you'll almost certainly like Vol. 2 - it's got a bit more of an acoustic feel and elements like female choirs have been added to the mix here and there, but those are changes for the better. And you can pick it up for a ridiculous price, whee!

Technically Amazon has both Vol.1 and Vol. 2 on sale in mp3 form ($6.99 for Vol. 1), but $3.68 is less than most EPs cost and Vol. 2 is a full length album.

FargoDog:
You write a whole piece on Hurt and don't mention J. Loren's voice, which is perhaps the most awesome thing ever to be put on CD?

Anyway, great review. I love Hurt, and I never see them mentioned on here so it was nice to see this pop up :)

I'd actually meant to write something about his voice originally, or at least I thought about it at one point during the composition process before I forgot and blazed on regardless. Anyhow, for me his tonal quality, while decent enough I suppose, isn't really the draw: it's his sheer range of vocal expression that I find compelling, and that's something I don't think would really come out much if Hurt just performed generic run of the mill hard rock numbers.

Or in other words, I don't rave about his voice so much as the things he does with it (that most hard rock vocalists do not), if that makes sense. Also I reserve my unmitigated vocalist fanboy status for Jorn Lande.

We completely agree on the whole "not enough love for Hurt on the Escapist" angle though!

Tharwen:
Well, that sounds pretty good! I might even be buying some of that soon-ish.

Sentences like this one infuse my very core with undiluted joy, as they let me know I've succeeded in my goal of introducing at least one person to something that they end up enjoying. Thanks for posting!

Tallim:
Certainly captured my interest. Keep up the good work.

Will do!

The only thing I like better than an excellent review [1] is good music, so I must thank you on both counts, good sir. I don't listen to this genre of music all that often, so when I do I don't know many good bands to pick from. I think this'll fit the bill quite nicely! Thanks!

Actually, I find myself liking this band more and more, listening to them while I write this. The first song you posted started off a bit generic, but by the end I had to listen to the next one, and by the time I got to the big orchestral crescendo in that one, I was hooked...

[1] That's a well-written review, not necessarily a five star review.[2]
[2] Why have I never used footnotes before? So much more readable than nested parentheses, and they're a reasonable approximation for the way I think! Sometimes.[3]
[3] Oh, sweet, nested footnotes do work!

Thanks for the review, not really into hard rock, but good review :-)

Vim-Hogar:
I don't listen to this genre of music all that often, so when I do I don't know many good bands to pick from. I think this'll fit the bill quite nicely! Thanks!

Actually, I find myself liking this band more and more, listening to them while I write this. The first song you posted started off a bit generic, but by the end I had to listen to the next one, and by the time I got to the big orchestral crescendo in that one, I was hooked...

That's the beauty of their music - just when you think you have a handle on a song it will shift and change, you never really know what will happen and there's the sense that anything is possible (plus orchestral crescendos are awesome, heh). I'm glad I was able to introduce you to something you're enjoying so much.[1]

Jenova65:
Thanks for the review, not really into hard rock, but good review :-)

Thanks! Out of curiosity, what kind of music are you into? I don't know that I've ever really gotten a feel for your listening habits, so now I'm wondering if that's because you've never really brought them up or if I just wasn't paying attention (I'd like to think it's the first one, because that hypothetical scenario makes me out to be less oblivious, heh).

[1] And yes, footnotes are pretty sweet, it was a happy day indeed when I worked out that you could format posts to include them.

Gildan Bladeborn:
Thanks! Out of curiosity, what kind of music are you into? I don't know that I've ever really gotten a feel for your listening habits, so now I'm wondering if that's because you've never really brought them up or if I just wasn't paying attention (I'd like to think it's the first one, because that hypothetical scenario makes me out to be less oblivious, heh).

Lol, I haven't really mentioned my taste in music, so no need to worry about not paying attention ;-)
I can't really say I like one particular type of music, IF I had to pick only one type of music to listen to for the rest of my life then everything considered (and I do listen to many types of music) I would have to pick classical tbh...............
Have I lost any street cred I had now, lol? ;-)

Jenova65:
IF I had to pick only one type of music to listen to for the rest of my life then everything considered (and I do listen to many types of music) I would have to pick classical tbh...............
Have I lost any street cred I had now, lol? ;-)

You realize you're asking this question of a man who will happily expound at length on the superlative and transcendent Romantic Period of classical composition and who makes no secret whatsoever that classical music is his first and greatest love, right? Lose street cred she asks, ha! Not bloody likely - that's the sort of pronouncement I love to hear.

Familiar with the work of Ralph Vaughan Williams? It is transcendentally beautiful, I highly recommend it.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked