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Hung: Hung
Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Metal
The End Records
May 8th, 2012
Release length: 1:02:34
Hung have quickly built up a respectable fanbase for themselves over the years. The New York City, New York based Melodic and Progressive Death Metal act formed back in 2005, and after a few independently released EPs, they find themselves picked up by The End Records, a very suiting home. Known for their often beautiful and dismal, yet highly aggressive material, their self-titled debut, Hung has begun making waves all over the internet, and throughout the appropriate Metal circles. But is this release really all that everyone is building it up to be?

Hung definitely sounds unlike a lot of material today. The audio quality here is quite loud to begin with, and carries a dark and dismal tone throughout every track that gives off a raw and melancholic setting, but holds a crisp value to the instruments, especially the more classical ones such as the violins that appear here and there with beautiful moving passages. The guitars are vibrant with each chord struck, bringing in a heavier, lower distortion that seems to have a bit of grain to it as well to push the rawer sound a little more. This heavier approach is supported nicely by a bass that has a bit of a higher tone and can even go into some twangy chords. This adds a little extra bite to the release, but it effectively acts more like a traditional rhythm guitar as far as the performance goes. The drums match the volume levels well here, though the cymbals don’t quite come off as apparent, being pushed a bit in the background, but just as sharp as the varied snares with a bit of a booming tightness to each, and the subtle click of the bass kicks that seem to walk the line between it and a thud. The vocals blend in both raspy and guttural styles, sometimes matching the other instruments to the point where they are almost drowned out. This recording doesn’t quite sound professional, but the mixture of modern digital traits and a the raw overall sound is quite impressive and really benefits the overall environment for each song.

Nearly every song presented is very impressive, and there’s plenty of variety to keep the listener entertained throughout. The material runs from somber yet beautiful passages like “Inertia,” an interlude track that finds an acoustic guitar against an emotional violin piece that gives the listener a moment to breathe amid the Death Metal madness. There’s also the introduction track “Eos” which sets the stage wonderfully, but doesn’t quite brace the listener for the aggression that is to come, but still makes for a passionate piece that whisks the listener away into a fantastical musical world for a brief two minutes and forty-five seconds before heading into the heavy, and highly infectious “Desert of Sad,” The violins come through nicely to work on the environment, though some of the chords can usher in a bit of a Sludge Metal push at times, such as at the start. This is far from one of the group’s most hostile offerings, but there are a few technical Progressive bridges that really utilize the bass more than on other songs, but manages to retain that slight Folk Metal touch that “Eos” promises so well.

There are a good number of longer pieces available too, including the highly impressive “Left for the New Life,” which clocks in at just over twelve minutes in length. Unlike others, this one really relies on the musical environment. The pace is more of a mid-tempo, and the violin performances really stand out the most. There are plenty of lighter passages found with the clean singing approach that matches the softer level instead of going into louder, enthusiastic territory. There are some additional complex areas as it progresses, and plenty of heavy passages and bridges, but the song never really treads into a hostile territory, largely allowing the listener a chance to slip away before tearing into the far more aggressive “Evil Tsar,” a much shorter offering but one that is easily the most volatile and venomous recording here. “Progeny” also stands out thanks to how the music constantly shifts between one approach to another. There are strong melodic passages with clean singing that suits it, but are not the most impressive aside trying to match how loud the music is. You have some chugging moments to that usher in a more guttural approach that hint at some aggression among the largely Melodic Death Metal fused chords with a little extra precision in the time amongst the members, and there’s even a violing solo that is well done before a more traditional Melodic guitar solo kicks in for a short amount of time. The only gripe to be had here is that the first of the two types mentioned doesn’t quite last as long as you would want, not just for beauty and atmosphere, but also for the sake of something different to Progressive Metal in general.

But, while the clean singing does work out for “Left for the New Life,” it doesn’t quite fit the rest of the album. “Infernal Redeemer,” “Matter of the Blood” and “Sediment of War” are all lighter tracks, though the first has plenty of aggressive passages throughout that incorporate some guttural vocal work. As mentioned earlier, these vocals aren’t that great, and while they suit the somber tones of the music, they just end up rather bland. But that’s really the only complaint you’ll have for this recording. Other than that, much of the songs are well balanced and really hit the listener the right way, though “Matter of the Blood” really takes the softest approach on the album by far, focusing largely on a light atmosphere that gradually builds to a burst of aggression about half way through. The music gets a little richer, and gutturals are introduced to make it a strong song, but by that point you’ll have unfortunately lost interest.

With the exception of the last few tracks, Hung is a fantastic Progressive and Melodic Death Metal effort. Both styles are represented well and meshed together through enough solid transitions and subtle changes that work well to give both a beautiful, and at times hostile performance, as well as a rather unique one. Hung may have come out of nowhere with their self-titled debut, but this still rather underground act from New York proves they won’t be in the shadows much longer, and with one hour long plus recording easily put the Metal community on notice that they are here, and you better get to know them right away.

01. Eos – 2:45
02. Desert of Sad – 4:38
03. Progeny – 9:18
04. Maria – 4:33
05. Left for the New Life – 12:08
06. Evil Tsar – 4:46
07. Inertia – 2:03
08. Infernal Redeemer – 6:36
09. Matter of the Blood – 7:02
10. Sediment of War – 8:45
Overall Score: 9.5/10

Physical review copy of this release provided by The End Records.
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