It would be fair to say that right from their outset a few years back, there has been something of an anticipation about the potential for UK based metal act Huron. That sense of anticipation, building out of their debut album “Cheyne Stoking”, was doubtless added to with some good press, some scintillating live shows and the active endorsement of one Bruce Dickinson. You might have heard of him.
However, I don’t think that either Iron Maiden‘s vocalist or any of us, for that matter, could have expected THIS. The “THIS” in question is their second album, “Mary Celeste”. It is a stunning statement of intent. Opening track ‘Branded’ turns up like Pantera’s long lost cousin brandishing a baseball bat and looking for a set of faces to smash: you’re starting to get the picture.
Things just keep getting better from there. The title track sounds a bit like Cancer Bats having a fight with Down and Devildriver and coming up, despite the carnage, with a four minute heavy metal gem in the process. It’s a cracker.‘Disperse Or We Fire’ continues the pounding and you start to feel your neck muscles ache as the drumming and guitar parts rifle through you. ‘Blood In Blood Out’ has riffs heavy enough to lift planets and has an infectious, repetitive chorus that leaps into your head and sets up home there: it is, my friends, a nailed on certainty to become a live classic.
‘Serpentswine’ has echoes of Slipknot in a Black Label Society-laced cocktail that pummels the listener into submission, only for you to get back up time and again for more punishment. ‘Eternal Sea Pt 1‘, following twenty minutes of unremitting brutality, is a welcome pause for breath. It’s an acoustic led track with a sensitive and evocative vocal from frontman Sean Palmer. It’s an introspective reflection of thwarted ambition, yet more evidence of the band’s creativity and ambition and a stunning, bright light in an album that positively glows neon.
‘Suffer’ brings back the power: the Pantera influence looms large but this is a four minute blast of vitriol that grabs you by the lapels, spits in your face and never lets up. ‘Eternal Sea Pt 2′ is a seven minute object lesson in how to build riffs, power and precision- it’s a exemplary end to the record.
From the bloodstained opening riffs and pummelling drums of ‘Branded‘ to the closing vocal strains of the epic sounding ‘Eternal Sea Pt 2′, this is a record that makes the hairs on the back of you neck not just stand up but start a circle pit of their very own at the base of your cerebellum. This has already been a brilliant year for heavy metal and, just when you think, “oh, it cant get much better”, up pop Huron with a “how’s about this one then, kids?” A stomping, crushing, juggernaut of a record. Brilliant. Just bloody brilliant.