February 8, 2007

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Hella, There’s No 666 In Outer Space
Ipecac Recordings, 2007

In which every freak-prog geek who ever suggested that Don Caballero add a legit singer is proven right in spades. Like a top gun battling for supremacy in front of a worldwide audience (of maybe 50 all told), Hella drummer Zach Hill out-paces Don Cab’s Damon Che by a length, but his chops have never been so precise as now, proving that he possibly maybe was, all along, thinking beyond the tragically unmarketable two-man guitar/drums operation he and Spencer Seim founded. With bassist Carson McWhirter aboard, the go-mental jams are now free to roam about the mixing-board, such as during the extended bass/drums break of “World Series,” where the pair make like Primus on angel dust. All this is well and good for the pimple-faces who want to keep Hella safely shackled out of sight, but the addition of singer Aaron Ross has made this thing invincible. Of slightly limited but wholly appropriate range, Ross’ voice maintains a holding pattern over the instrumental battlefield, nonchalantly creating an additional layer, his technical effects set to pure Robert Plant. That ultra-rare kind of record that plays for every marble on the table and walks away with full pockets. AEric W. Saeger