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Skullvalanche, by Hummingbird of Death

Album Review


Local thrash-lads Hummingbird of Death don't go half in--not on names and not on jams. The seven tracks on the band's new release, Skullvalanche, feature walls of sludge with thick guitars and the sort of vocal growl one generally only hears in nightmares featuring sharp-toothed beasts.

Though HOD has released many a split 7-inch since its inception in 2005, Skullvalanche is the group's second dedicated full-length LP. It was released by Deep Six Records in December and the album marks a bit of a shift.

The band's earlier material largely takes after its name: short and high-strung. In fact, the songs are so short and fast that Hummingbird of Death packs in the same amount of songs onto a 7-inch that some bands barely fit on a double-LP.

While Skullvalanche starts down that road with a short blast of chaos called "Shit," it quickly drops into first gear over the next three tracks, pushing audiences toward the heavy-nod with-crossed-arms dance over the seizure-speed head-bang.

And nearly half the album goes by before it picks up again with the drum and guitar intro to "Holy Fetus," the album's fifth track.

On Skullvalanche's penultimate track, "Par for the Corpse," things get back to normal, with impossibly fast blasts of distortion and solo wails that are gone before you can get your air guitar properly situated.

That said, there isn't much that largely distinguishes Hummingbird of Death's particular brand of loud, fast screaming and snarling from other bands that have "of Death" tacked onto their names. But overall, Skullvalanche is a well-executed doom-and-thrash album more than a unique statement on doom-and-thrash. If you're into that sort of thing, then Skullvalanche will find a firm hold in your heart.