There’s No 666 in Outer Space
Despite the vocoder testament of this album’s title on “2012 and Countless,” Hella still commands the inhuman drumming of Zach Hill. A provider of rhythms both robotically precise and organically gargantuan, Hill has the demonic touch that drives Hella on its cosmic journey through sound. The group’s influences come from such progressive ’90s alt-rock landmarks like Tool and Smashing Pumpkins, but there’s a definite schizo-metal bend to their compositions that feels surprisingly close to System of a Down and post-punk contemporaries The Blood Brothers.
Hella’s twists and turns aren’t the product of ADD or a lack of focus on the plot; it’s like their mission is to forever chase errant sounds, time signatures and other ephemera to join to their existing Frankenstein’s body of progressive rock. The disc’s opening track “World Series” is a perfect example of this, stutter stops of thunder from the low end are monolithic while a guitar lead flickers elliptically at the front of it all like a lure. Pummeled in the wake of riffage, the melody gives up and synths as strong as steel cables hold the song together, ushering in a near-murder of a saxophone solo. Hill moves “Let Your Heavies Out” into the realm of incredulousness by running circles around all of his band mates, seemingly keeping himself entertained with how quickly he can go from supporting beat to cacophonous lead instrument. As careening as it presents itself, There’s No 666 in Outer Space feels like the work of a band-as-phoenix. It’s about constant molting of expectations, and what better place to subvert the norm than at a theoretical crossroads of some distant galaxy.