Manchester’s The Hyena Kill, previously a duo but expanded to a four-piece in 2019, display a melodic sensibility throughout A Disconnect, their sophomore album. It’s an extraordinarily dynamic 45 minutes exploring the space between razor-sharp rock riffs and subtle mythical atmospherics, almost as if Helmet and Tool were called upon to jam together. Their blend of primal rock fury with more thoughtful hypnotic ethereal passages is definitely one to be savoured.
The album slowly unfolds, becoming more expansive and nuanced as it progresses, giving A Disconnect the feeling of constant forward motion, even at its most bleak. The far-reaching space rock guitar tones, vaguely reminiscent of LA underdogs Failure, give the songs room to breathe, something that, with their expanded line-up, THK could potentially push even further on future releases. Occasionally melodies meander rather than directly hit your neo-cortex, but there’s enough depth to the songs to inspire repeated listens even when a central hook is not immediately obvious.
The album’s first half is where you’ll find the majority of A Disconnect’s riffs, but it’s actually the far wider-reaching second half that gives the most indication that The Hyena Kill are reaching towards their own distinctive sound. Bleached is savage without being straightforward, whilst Mire sounds like an orchestra of electronic crickets chirping mellifluously above an insistent electronic pulse.
There have been significant leaps and bounds made between this record and their 2016 debut, Atomised; certainly it’s almost impossible to imagine a duo being able to pull off the slow-build nuances evident on Glass Scene by themselves, or the absolutely monumental penultimate song, Incision, which builds to a glorious cacophony by the song’s end. A Disconnect is an album that unfolds its secrets slowly and, given time, one that you can lose yourself in.