Daughters - Hell Songs (Cover Artwork)


Hell Songs (2006)

Hydra Head

Never before have I been compelled to write a retalliation review for an album here. Sure, I've certainly had strong disagreements with reviews on this site, but I usually take it with a grain of salt. When I read the review of the newest Daughters album on the afternoon of September 10th, I totally disagreed with it, but I didn't really bother to do anything besides post: "I totally disagree with this review. He's not trying to sing on this album, I would say. I honestly think this is the best album Daughters have released to date. They got sick of how every hardcore band sounds exactly the fucking same. For a spazz-core heavy band to release such an experimental record is a huge positive in my book. I hope more bands in this genre take a cue from Daughters and just experiment a little. This album rocks."

I thought my little comment would be enough of a way for me to vent my frustrations. However, as time passed, I grew to enjoy the album more and more. At the end of the year I cited it as one of the best albums of 2006. Now I like it even more than when I said it was one of the best of the year. As my enjoyment of the record grew and grew, so did my frustration with the Punknews.org review of it (especially by one of the trustworthy staff! gasp!). I would read it over and over, disagreeing with almost every point, obsessing, and carving key phrases of it into my walls ("shitstorms," "obnoxious," "Hypervent Tilationsystem," etc.). I stopped sleeping. I stayed up all night, hugging my iPod rocking back and forth listening to Hell Songs while staring at my distant computer screen while the cursed review glared back at me.

That really happened to me.

The fact of the matter is, Hell Songs not only rules, but utterly destroys everything else the band has released and most of what their weirdo noise contemporaries release. I really wouldn't consider Daughters to be a part of any real genre and god forbid I label them "grindcore" (what grindcore truly is has yet to be determined to this very day [cue frenzy of scene veterans to the comments section]). They seem to belong really in the noise band category, more like bands such as Growing and Battles, and (perhaps more similarly) freakout bands like the Locust, Black Dice and AIDS Wolf. Either way, experimentation is not a bad thing.

The vocals were the most abhorred part of the album according to the previous review, but I think they are stronger than on previous recordings. In fact, if I hear another band with "a vicious, affecting scream, very much helping to illuminate the underlying chaos" I will blow my fucking head off. The new vocal style is not an attempt to sing, as the previous reviewer stated, but is just another way to tell the story the lyrics are trying to convey. If you think about it, talking, whispering, growing, and hissing the lyrics are no more absurd than screaming them. The new vocal style represents more of a confusion and a desperation, which I think compliments the music way better than a high-pitched bark.

The songwriting is improved as well; everything has a bouncier, carnival-in-hell sort of quality. The ideas are drawn out longer as well, because one of my biggest complaints about the last album was that it was over too quick (there's only one song under a minute long on their new album). This new format allows the band to jam a little longer on each song, which in turn makes the heavy parts much more intense. This idea is really taken advantage of on the three-part, six-minute-long "Cheers Pricks" (which also features one of the most loopy and catchy basslines on any album released last year).

Even though it's only 20 minutes long, Hell Songs has a menacingly epic quality to it. The album opens with droning sun's-in-your-eyes-and-you're-hung-over guitars and a thick, plodding drumline, giving way to "Fiery" which could be playing right now in Satan's discotheque (plus the wonderful a capella ending of "this is how you go burning there as quiet as a mouuuuussssse"). Other highlights include the unbearable tension of scissors (?) clipping the empty air in "Fiesty Snake Woman" that later crumble away into complete deep chaos; the use of horns and strings towards the end of "Providence by Gaslight"; and the "love is a disgusting thing" chant on "Hyperventilationsystem." The album ends almost innocuously by suddenly fading out. It's just suddenly over.

So obviously I'm extremely pumped on this album, which may deter some people, but I absolutely mean it. I have no ties to the band or anything like that; in fact they seem very distant from their fanbase, constantly making fun of them live (which I believe is still totally justified). So if anything, I just want to try to get Brian and the rest of the music-adoring public to re-listen, at least once. Chuck Klosterman wrote in his newest book about how people can't be satisfied with simply having their own opinion and living with it; people want their opinion to be considered the "right" opinion. They want it to be a part of the status quo. So that's what I'm doing right now. I just want to have my feelings justified.

Punknews, please post this deeply erratic and troubled review for a deeply erratic and troubled album.