Band Site: www.thehectic.com
Upon opening Hectic's self-titled release, I was greeted by the label: "Warning: This product contains a brutal dose of Texas Industrial Alt. Metal". Now is that the genre where one should expect brutality? Brutal as in Creed or P.O.D.? Now, if it were say Watain (black metal) or Vital Remains (death metal) or the latest release from Napalm Death - I can see that, but with this band I sincerely hope it was considered as a joke. Inside the disc there is a "Certificate of Authenticity". Now, if this were a major label band that is concerned with music piracy in say a 3rd world country, I'd understand the reasoning, but again this seems corny as is the personally autographed and numbered section (woohoo, I got 567/1000, hope it is worth something!). Again, great move if you're Black Label Society, not so great if you're a local band. I've been wrong before, but the whole thing smacks of a bit of self-indulgence.
Looking at the band lineup I am also thinking that it is possible that these guys suffer from a musical personality crisis. They have 2 members dressed in masks as in Slipknot (Kevin Reed - guitars, DJ Hard Core - turntables & Samples), a cellist (Marilyn Tovy) that could fit in a symphony, a guitarist wearing corpse-paint (Chris Owen) and 3 regular looking guys (Ken Pride - drums, Danny Acker - bass, Ronnie Tinsley - vocals) that could pass for members of Creed or Hootie & the Blowfish. From their website: (the band is) "a collection of accomplished musicians with diverse styles and influences whose musical alchemy has been characterized as Nine Inch Nails meets Pantera...The band writes what they feel at the moment, there are no imposed boundaries on the music. The Hectic unapologetically sprawls across musical genres like the city they’re from sprawls across Southeast Texas." So, is a personality crisis a good or a bad thing?
I personally find alt. metal to be quite a limiting genre, with all the bands sounding the same - same production and stage personas, one listen to the radio and you can confirm that. Keeping that in mind, Hectic have managed to spice things up and keep it interesting. Overall I find the production good with some flaws on the levels, especially on the consistency of the guitar and drum sounds. That is understandable since the CD features 13 tracks and clocks at close to 60 minutes.
So with the varied band members and no holes barred when it comes to song writing, how does the band integrate all these varied personalities? I for one am not a huge fan of the DJ effects. For example, the scratching and goofy effects ruined "Circa Now" and "Automatic Freedom" for me. The cellist also got a solo track "Kjot Bolti" (#10) which stood out as an oddball decision and sounded not up to par. On other tracks as "No Regret" and "December" which to me were the best showcasing the band's full talent, the cello worked wonderfully as a support instrument. Ronnie Tinsley (vocals) and Ken Pride consistently deliver the goods on this album as does Danny Acker (bass). The guitar section of the band delivers varied results, for the most part good. They achieve great layered sounds as in the songs "No Regret" and "December", the Sepultura-reminiscent thrasher "Cut Out", and the inspiring layered delay lines on "Another Foot in the Grave" that really propel the track. "24/7" is also another track that really drives home with a molten rhythm track. The leads are so-so, and don't really deliver as far as I am concerned. As seems to be the trend today, bands that release albums tend to want to put in as much music as the CD will hold, which while commendable, has its setbacks as well as you can't inevitably write 70 minutes worth of hits. I feel that there are songs that should have not made the cut, including the atrocious cello solo that seemed pasted in there for no reason.
Overall I feel that "The Hectic" is a diverse and interesting album, with mostly good tunes and a few overindulgent moments that probably could've been trimmed from the release.
Reviewed by A. Dorian