The Hyena Kill – ‘A Disconnect’ album review

Manchester-based rock band The Hyena Kill release ‘A Disconnect’ via APF Records on 5 March. The album finds the band reflecting on a number of traumatic and tragic incidents in the members’ personal lives, with vocalist/guitarist Steven Dobb saying: ‘The bulk of material was written during a very low point in my life, and as a result this album fell into place with a sense of claustrophobia and finality, of being trapped in a hospital bed, linked up to life support, unable to regain your own agency and escape the situation you find yourself in. Of being bound by the traumas of the past that you’re unable to cast away, and ultimately feeling suffocated by them. Wanting to escape and be absolutely anywhere – or anyone – else. These are lyrics that deal with and focus on uncomfortable subjects that were dominating my life at the time of writing. The words and movements in this record are mostly without resolution. There are no happy endings or moments of clarity.’

After a quieter opening with the largely incidental and instrumental opener ‘Septic’, Lorna Blundell’s intense and pulsating drums come in to mark the start of ‘Passive Disconnect’ – a song that finds Steven offering a direct line of questioning (‘Is it what you’re waiting for?’) against a Million Dead-esque backdrop before concluding with impassioned screams and chunky, stop-start riffs. ‘Cauterised’ follows by taking the album into a prog-meets-post rock direction before ‘Witness’ brings back the melodic and melancholic hooks as Steven shares his innermost thoughts about being forever lost and haunted by his past as he looks to escape a dark place. There are more experimental guitar tones on the Deftones-esque ‘Close Enough’ – a poignant piece about acceptance and regrets.

‘Thin’ starts in slower and more acoustic fashion as Steven warns (possibly to himself?) ‘the demons will always lie to you’ before a flash of light hints at brighter times ahead. ‘Bleached’ picks up the pace with its Melvins-esque blend of punk hooks and healthy shouts while ‘Glass Scene’ finds the band trying to come to terms with a painful and difficult situation: ‘This I said is not real, convinced this is not happening’; ‘Are you ready to go?’ The penultimate ‘Incision’ fuses galloping guitars and military drums with a more experimental edge – finding a spot between classic heavy metal and contemporary artists like Chelsea Wolfe – before the record draws to a close with the bleakly brilliant ‘Mire’. Its glitch-filled introduction making way for something more introspective and intense as Steven shares deeply personal thoughts and feelings.

‘A Disconnect’ is a raw, brutal and deeply important listen.

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