There's No 666 in Outer Space

by Chad Beck space

      An early front-runner for best record of 2007, Hella's There's No 666 In Outer Space runs the gamut between psychedelic delight and instrumental sonic euphoria. Thankfully, the three extra players here (Hella's longtime founders drummer Zach Hill and guitarist Spencer Seim added vocals, bass and a second guitarist for the first time on this record) are a positive addition to this noisy duo. Singer Aaron Ross does the impossible, making a fantastically interesting instrumental group sound even better with manic vocals reminiscent of The Mars Volta and classic Led Zepplin. At times beautiful, at others quite disturbing, There's No 666 In Outer Space is an exciting testament to what talented musicians can accomplish when they aren't worried about aping current trends.

      Like most other Hella albums, drummer Zach Hill commands the most attention from the listener, delivering impossibly frenetic patterns in unendingly interesting ways. Few drummers have ever managed to play such mesmerizing parts without distracting from the band's overall gestalt. Hill does more than that on 666, giving cuts like "Friends Don't Let Friends Win" and "Let Your Heavies Out" more oomph than a hockey puck to an unprotected crotch. Hella doesn't make sense on contemporary radio, but that simply doesn't matter.

      The record's most appetizing piece is the oddly haunting "2012 and Countless." Best heard in surround sound, this track is equal doses ambiance and dizzying show-time vocals. Underneath a swirling bed of stretched noise a chorus of disembodied vocals rise in unison, singing "There's no 666 in outer space" to a hypnotic effect. Like an evolving optical illusion, Hella's sound is ephemeral and immediate, dividing the listener's brain between pleasure and torture. Absolutely hard to explain but undeniably beautiful.

Copyright 2007 Ad Media Inc.