Hospital The Musical

REDorphan

Written by: PP on 11/08/2009 21:57:07

Hailing from the ever so vibrant and extremely underrated Australian music scene, Hospital The Musical attracted me simply because of their intriguing name and strange album title ("REDorphan") - proof of why choosing an interesting band name can make or break a band. Okay, Hospital The Musical are still taking baby steps forward as a band, but to have someone overseas check out their record just because of the name should be worth something, right? Anyway. What we are dealing with here is a chaotic hardcore band adhering to all 'scene music' ethics starting from the indecipherable growls and screams all the way down to lo-fi, screechy guitars and inconsistent time-signatures that seemingly keep on changing faster than the listener can keep track.

For the majority of the time, Hospital The Musical engage the listener with a sound that can only be described as utter chaos. Elements from hardcore and mathcore intertwine to create a ear-piercing soundscape akin to bands like Converge, The Number 12 Looks Like You, Daughters, or Heavy Heavy Low Low, though the band doesn't necessarily sound exactly like any of those bands. Occasionally - and this is when the band are at their best in my opinion - they morph their chaos-hardcore into melancholic, haunting atmospheres that will remind you of "The Always Open Mouth" by Fear Before The March Of Flames among others. The transitions are usually seamless, but can still feel a little sudden and incoherent because of the stark contrast between the two styles.

The vocalist's broken scream sounds a little like HORSE The Band's vocalist on "A Natural Death", which is okay, but a smoother delivery (production?) would help many of the songs immensely. "Fauna", for instance, is just screeching vocal (and guitar) dissonance from start to finish, which probably works brilliantly live (see The Chariot), but on record I'm hard pressed to accept it as a legit song. The best track on the record is "2.5 George Is Close Enough In A Columbian Accent" (what?), which features some quiet female vocals and a jazzy instrumentation on the background. The song progresses forward slowly with the help of quiet strumming and saxophone, but around halfway through of the nearly 7 minute monster, the vocalist finally shows his true colors and mixes a desperate scream with just enough melody to give you the chills as a listener. Straight after, however, it's back to alternating lines of mathcore/jazzy guitars in a strange quiet/loud dynamic on "Press R3 To Toggle Lonely Cliche Missions On or Off" (what's with the titles?), which isn't bad, but it leaves me wishing for some more cohesion and, more importantly, better songwriting like the song before just demonstrated. When the album is closed with the mammoth title track, the clean vocals make a welcome return, but its only effect is to leave me wishing they would've used more of the clean/chaotic scream dynamic on the record, because that's easily where the band is at their strongest. Still, I bet this band is immense live.

Download: 2.5 George Is Close Enough In A Columbian Accent, Kurt Ruessell Escaped From LA, REDorphan
For the fans of: The Chariot, Heavy Heavy Low Low, Botch, Daughters, Converge
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.07.2009
Soviet Records

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