Daughters - Hell Songs (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Hell Songs (2006)

Hydra Head

It's hard to have problems with the new Daughters album, Hell Songs -- musically, that is. Because, in terms of composition here, the Providence-based sorta grindcore outfit is still writing bursts of noise relatively in line with their now 3-year-old debut, Canada Songs -- you know, the type of brief, piercing songs following in the Locust's footsteps. Granted, the band seems a little slower and a little more angular and obnoxious, with bass-driven dirges of dragging, ear-splitting sounds. Where we really run into the problems is frontman Lex's vocals.

See, anyone familiar with Canada Songs will know that Lex tended to lead the songs with a vicious, affecting scream, very much helping to illuminate the underlying chaos. However, on Hell Songs, he sings -- sings awful, in fact. His voice is slurred in a seemingly drug-induced sort of way, as he slowly rambles through Hell's songs with a slight fake Southern drawl, making him sound like a young Isaac Brock completely tripped out on acid. This literally ruins every song on the album, taking each one and slamming it into the wall to complete the car crash and drain any possible enjoyability from them. When he exudes some energy, it results in bad yelling drenched in distortion.

It's unfortunate, because there is certainly a progression evident here that proves the band is doing some interesting things. Frenetic, noisy riffs, silly double bass, and roaring, abrupt static makes up the creative "Providence by Gaslight," which even brings in some wailing horns towards its finish. Opener "Daughters Spelled Wrong" is a slow churning, groundswell of noise, while "Hyperven Tilationsystem" and "The Fuck Whisperer" are both hyperactive shitstorms that certainly could've resulted from Canada Songs' sessions (minus the vocals, of course). There's even the 6-minute "Cheers, Pricks," which finds the band up to their usual selves, only over the course of a much longer song, and for the last 2 minutes more somber, atmospheric sparkles that die down quickly.

Creative? Certainly. Obnoxious? Unfortunately, even more so. I know it's likely that Daughters' aim is to simply piss off the listener, and in that sense, they've sure succeeded. They may have been trying the same with Canada Songs, but the pure chaos emanating from that album made it great entertainment. Here, it's only aural nuisance.