The Crux

Written by: IM on 13/02/2013 20:39:38

Hurt are definitely not a band to listen to if you’re having a bad day; they are without doubt monumentally depressing, in the most epic way possible. The sixth of their studio albums, “The Crux”, faces strong competition from earlier releases, such as “Volume 1” and “Volume 2”. “Volume 1” wallows in a Placebo-esque depression - with the angst of Nirvana or Seether thrown in for good measure - and should never be underestimated.

Hurt, formed in 2000 in Virginia, are a band that encompass a variety of styles. While frequently categorised as prog, Hurt have never quite made up their minds as to who they wanted to sound like. By definition, prog should take the listener on a musical journey, whereas one might say Hurt take us through a journey of styles as they attempt to find their identity. On the other hand, they are a band with an incredible back catalogue. It is difficult for a band to surpass a musical masterpiece like the truly epic “Volume 1”, with tracks such as “Rapture,” a strangely addictive mix of Tool and Seether, and “Falls Apart,” which thrives off depressive overtones yet is delivered with raw energy.

“Volume 2” stands on its own feet as well, as does “Goodbye to the Machine”, to an extent. However “The Crux” is in danger of falling short. The opening track, “So When” starts with promise, but instead of building up, it slightly peters out. It’s easy to sound critical of “The Crux”, but by another band’s standards, it would easily be considered outstanding, excellent or at the very least very good. But after a marathon of unforgettable albums, “The Crux” is somewhat forgettable.

Will this indeed be the crux of things? Or will Hurt take this moment as their opportunity to truly contemplate who they wish to sound like? In many ways, the variation provided in the differing nature of their tracks is very refreshing; not many bands can go between spontaneously sounding like Tool, Seether, Audioslave and Opeth or even all of them at once. Most importantly, it really does work for them.

One niggling doubt with “The Crux” stems from the fact that Hurt like to borrow not only musical styles but also snippets of lyrics. “Caught in the rain” easily stands out as the best track on the album, but the words “Later in the evening/When I lie awake in bed“ are more than reminiscent of “Later in the evenin'/As you lie awake in bed” as found in Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”. This is perhaps more than mere coincidence given that the popular cover of “Turn the Page” can be found on Metallica’s “Garage Inc.” album and some say that the voice of Hurt singer J. Loren Wince is reminiscent of that of Metallica’s James Hetfield.

On the subject of Wince’s voice, he is something of a vocal chameleon. He has also been compared to Seether’s Shaun Morgan, who sang on “World Ain’t Right” from Hurt’s penultimate album “Goodbye to the Machine”.

Ultimately, Hurt are strangely addictive and spontaneous, yet reliable in delivering raw energy and emotion. But have they peaked? Following the epic journeys and emotional rollercoasters of “Volumes 1” and “.. 2”, have Hurt set themselves up for a fall? Will they, to borrow a few of their lyrics, conclude that “everything just fell apart,” or that “I’ve got to carry on?”


Download: Caught In The Rain
For The Fans Of: Seether, Tool

Release Date 01.05.2012
Carved Records

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