on October 9, 2007
As the first modern rock band in a long time to refuse adhering to any formulas, Hurt made quite an impression with last year's "Vol. I.," only to follow it up rather swiftly and efficiently with the appropriately titled "Vol. II." Those who appreciated the first volume will be equally enthused by what the band has to offer the second time around. Without changing their sound much, while avoiding predictability, Hurt have shown that a band actually can grow in a year's time and put out a worthy release in such a short period. Fans of the band's semi-hit, "Rapture" will find the album's first single "Ten Ton Brick," along with "Et Al" and "Loded" to be instantly pleasing to the ears. Elsewhere, the band expands on it's abstract, somewhat-spacey, emotionally heavy material. "Abuse Of Sid" takes a topic -- domestic abuse -- that has been beat into the ground by countless bands, and finally does it justice, coming through as one of the boldest songs on the album. "Aftermath," one of the briefer of the album's 12 tracks, highlights frontman J. Loren's amazing vocal capacity and genuine emotion, while the band continues to dip into some trippy, classic-rock/Pink Floyd inspired pieces. "Talking To God," however, tops the rest of the album, as it rises and falls, from a whisper to a scream and shows all the band can do, wrapped into one song. Like the rest of Hurt's material, it's a song that starts off in one direction and ends in a totally different place. Constantly throwing curveballs and reinventing modern rock is Hurt's specialty. If Hurt are the next band to concur the rock world, an album like this is exactly what they need to accomplish that. "Vol. II" is, like it's predecessor, a masterpiece. Anyone familiar with the band by now will not walk away disappointed, and those looking for something refreshing and new will do themselves a bit of good to look into this album.
on September 26, 2007
Just as Vol. I leaves us with the sound of rain drops pattering the ground, Vol. II picks up in Summers Lost, with the ambient sound of the rain returning. If you were to listen to Vol. I and Vol. II in a continuous listening session, it's doubtful that you would ever notice that Vol. I ended and Vol. II started.
Vol. II is harder and darker than Vol. I, but with every hard piece, there is a gentle piece to go along with it for those people who don't like to here J. Loren scream.
It's difficult to sum up the album in one or two words, other than saying "it's phenomenal" or "it's beautiful". Instead of falling into the trap, Hurt was able to innovate once again with a new and unique sound for each and every song. When listening to the album, I wasn't saying to myself that 'this sounds like Rapture' or 'this is exactly like Falls Apart'.
The only negative thing I have to say about this album is that the older songs on the album, ones that appeared on The Consumation, lack the same emotion that their Consumation counterparts were filled with.
Other than that, Vol. II, like Vol. I, creates a nice neutral zone between mainstream and underground. Their songs are catchy enough to get radio play, but they don't sound like all of the songs preceding it.
on September 27, 2007
A year and a half since their first release, we are once again upon Hurt. The album starts off right where the first left off with the familiar raindrops, plunging right into a personal favorite; Summers Lost. As with the last album, each song is more than exceptional in its own right. As such, I wont review each song individually, suffice to say on a scale of one to ten, each song is a very solid 9+ depending on which; each, upon delving deeper, tell a brilliantly written, fantastic story.
Overall, I believe the album deserves at the very least a 9.5 (rounding up to 5/5 stars). I dare say this is one of the best albums I have had the pleasure of purchasing/listening too, and from the previous album, I had very, very high expectations. I'm not going to say you don't hear music like this anymore, for I am not of age to lay claim to the "brilliance of of oldies," though in retrospect to modern music, or my generation, you don't hear music like this period.
As my title suggests, counter to popular opinion, I find this effort to be slightly more mellow, and perhaps more personally written than Volume 1. Despite my feelings on the subject, I suppose if you had to pick a downside to the album, that would be it. Though I don't, and actually may prefer the familiar yet not significantly more mellow sound (I listen to a lot of very hard rock). As such, I by no means see it as a glaring, or any other wise labeled defect. Any shortcomings? I think not.
If you're contemplating purchasing the new Hurt, do yourself a favor and do so. If you even marginally appreciated the first effort, you wont be disappointed.
~On a side note, if you ever have the chance to see these gents live, it's not to be missed.
on October 2, 2007
Didn't think it was possible to top Volume one, but Volume two is a better defined progression from this hard working band's debut. Vol. II picks up literally where Vol.I left off, if you play the two cds after each other they match perfectly, and then takes you on a sonic trip that few bands have even attempted to undertake, especially bands with a sharp edge. If you liked Vol. I, this cd is a must have... If you like epic, intense music played with skill and commitment, this CD is a must have... If you like dense, intelligent well thought out songs, this cd is a must have... If you like a bit of mystery, lyrics that present a challenge to decypher and emotional performances that have been actually lived through by the performers, the this cd is a must have... Best CD of 07, easily.
on September 29, 2007
This album is every bit as good as volume I, but with more peaks and valleys in the volume and intensity categories. When I first bought Volume I, I enjoyed the change of pace from the more "radio friendly" hard rock. The quick volume drops and innate fragility of the quiet passages mixed with the bludgening riffs and drums on volume I are again represented here on volume II. This album rocks and takes you for a ride with the brilliant poetic use of language by J. Loren Wince. His lyrics are both cryptic and intelligent in a manner that is reminiscent of Maynard from tool, with the introspectiveness of a broken soul. The drumming on this album caries the pulse and pushes the heavier passages further into "tool" territory without compromising the unique sound that is Hurt. The guitar work on this album well above their last effort, they even included a few solo's. The use of string instruments and the tasteful use of instruments more traditionally fount in bluegrass on Alone with the Sea really add a dimension you do not find in modern hard rock.
Individual track ratings
1. Summers Lost 10/10 (picks up where volume I left off)
2. Ten Ton Brick 10/10 (heavy throughout will not disappoint that fan base)
3. Aftermath 9/10 (first real change of pace on the album not a let down but just not as good as some of the other songs on the album)
4. Abuse Of Sid 10/10 (another soft starter with a cool guitar intro, it picks up in volume and intensity and really rocks when it is necessary
5. Alone With the Sea 10/10 (unique use of instrumentation very haunting
6. Talking To God 10/10 (very catchy "chorus" how can you talk to god if you won't talk to me)
7. Loded 10/10 (heavy starter, listen to the vocal delivery in the beginning unique for J. then it goes into traditional Hurt territory)
8. Better 9/10 (begins with processed drums build up, a solid song, sounds like it would fit really well on Volume I as well as this album)
9. Assurance 10/10 (Very soft and delicate Fits well into the album)
10. On the Radio 9/10 (Unique fiddle solo at the end, well unique for hard rock, very solid song)
11. Et Al 9/10 (A rerecording of a song they had released ealier, It's a great song to begin the ending of the album with)
12. Thank You For Listening 10/10 (A solid ending to a great listening experience)
I cannot wait to hear whats next from this band.
on September 5, 2012
It is worth stating upfront that like I am a big fan of Hurt's Volume I. The music on Volume I is at the same time dark, moody, complex, angry, and beautiful. I was actually drawn into buying Volume II by a conversation by one of my students. We had gotten into a conversation about how amazing Volume I was, and I was a bit shocked when he proclaimed that Volume II blows their first effort out of the water. I quickly picked up Volume II and I haven't stopped listening (and playing along) ever since.
Songs like "Ten Ton Brick" and "Loaded" take the edgy, angry side of Volume I, but have a bit more drive behind them. Songs like "Summer's Lost", "Abuse of Sid", and "Et Al" are as dark, moody, and atmospheric as anything that Volume I had to offer and more.
What I really love about Volume II is that hurt didn't just create a more promising and mature album than Volume I. Instead, hurt put together something that feels like the other side of Volume I's coin (which may explain the similarly themed covers). Their arrangement has grown considerably from Volume I, but in a way that doesn't diminish what they accomplished with Volume I (which is still an amazing album).
If you enjoyed Volume I you will almost certainly fall in love with Volume II. No matter how many times I listen to this album I keep wanting to come back for more, and to listen a little deeper the next time.
on December 31, 2011
I wasn't going to review this album for the simple reason that I'm so far behind the 8-ball (Vol. II was release over 4 years ago) but I didn't want those who are following my reviews to think I'm as cynical as my latest reviews make me out to be. Besides, this masterpiece only had 29 reviews as of today (12/31/11), and that means not enough people are listening to it.
A friend introduced me to Hurt only a few weeks ago, and when I asked him which album I should experiment with first, he told me either Vol. I or Vol. II. He then went on to say that his favorite Hurt album was "Goodbye to the Machine". I will honestly tell you that my expectations were low, but I was absolutely blown away by Vol. I. J. Loren and Evan Johns are musical geniuses (one studied classical as a youth) and they blend multiple genres into two albums. You get a taste of metal (not Slipknot/Mushroomhead metal, but more in the range of Tool or NIN metal), you get a taste of APC-ish rock, and you get some classical synths featuring a choir and/or an orchestra of strings. Volume II literally picks up where Volume 1 left off as "Summers Lost" begins with the same theme that ended on "House Carpenter". The two albums combined aren't exactly a rock opera the way Pink Floyd would have done it, but they carry a theme and each track flows exceptionally well from start to finish.
Incidentally, I was very disappointed in "Goodbye to the Machine" as that felt more like a collection of Three Doors Down B-sides than an album, so if you're hurting for a new band, and you haven't tried Hurt, I recommend that you start with Vol I. Their freshman and sophomore albums are nearly perfect. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't own "Goodbye to the Machine", but IMO, it's not nearly as strong.
on September 26, 2007
This album seems darker than their first, it is also a little harder. The songs seem to follow even less of a standard format when compared to Volume 1. There also seems to be a little more orchestra background. This album basically is volume 1 squared. I have only listened to it once so far but I do believe that this album will grow on me as the first one did. I LOVED the first album, and this follows the same unconventional style which is what separates Hurt from other rock bands. Try this album out!!!!
on September 29, 2007
That is how this album plays itself out. It is mellow and melodious with beautiful soundscapes that you can get lost in. Beautiful, organic music... Only with a twist. Right as you find yourself falling into relaxation on that beach, you get pelted in the face with the biggest, most aggressive wave you have ever seen. It turns from beautiful and melodious, to dark and dissonant at the drop of a dime, and then just as quickly... It turns back into that beautiful, relaxing Summer day at the beach.
It does this a few times until the most powerful moment on the album, which happens during the breakdown in the final track.
This may be the best album I have heard in a very long time, in fact, it IS.
If you like hard rock, alternative, adult-contemporary, soft rock, acoustic, progressive, or even like a slight taste of metal... This album is in your palate.
This is one band you just simply can not lump into a single genre. They are all of that and more. This band is truly revolutionary in the way they approach music. Do yourself, and the music industry, a favor. Give this band a listen... You will NOT be disappointed!
on February 21, 2014
All I have to say is that music is not about a beat, it is about the composition and the lyrics. J. is complex and is a wonderful writer, violinist, and vocalist. If you buy a Hurt Album you need to study the music to understand the greatness.