Kal Marks - My Name Is Hell Music Album Reviews

Kal Marks - My Name Is Hell Music Album Reviews
Following the dissolution of the longstanding Boston power trio in 2020, Carl Shane reassembles the group as a quartet and pushes at the limits of its dense, cantankerous sound.

Before flaming out in early 2020, Kal Marks shook Boston’s foundations from underground. The 2018 album Universal Care defined the noise-rock trio at its prickly peak; singer-guitarist Carl Shane embodied a proletariat everyman on the brink of collapse, his guttural yowl the sound of a man plunging into a visceral, violent panic. Following the dissolution of the longstanding power trio, the band’s tempestuous fifth album, My Name Is Hell, follows Shane with a newly cast quartet unfurling their dense, cantankerous sound with impudent bravado.

“This might be delusional, but I just feel more like a realist than a pessimist,” Shane told WBUR in 2018, challenging a notion that has loomed over the band since its inception in 2010. “I understand that, most likely, nothing good is going to happen, y’know?” My Name Is Hell vehemently defends this idea: “I know the wrath of God/Like the tracings of my own palms,” he cries on the crunchy trudge of “Ovation,” his voice gritty and hardened. It no longer registers as the Kal Marks of yore, the creature with its back against the wall. Where previous records feel bound by chains in a scrapyard, this album is feral and prowling, coursing with adrenaline.

Shane, now accompanied by Bethlehem Steel’s Christina Puerto on guitar, A Deer A Horse’s Dylan Teggart on drums, and bassist John Russell, used the new lineup to stretch out the group’s proportions, adding layers of ’90s-inspired guitar melodies and loose interplay to a trembling, rhythm-focused sound; the music buzzes with the most harmonic reciprocity his discography has ever seen. Turbulent opener “My Life Is a Freak Show” signals a shift similar to Swans and Harvey Milk following their first few strident releases. The days of wistful violence (Universal Care’s “Fuck That Guy”) are out; the goading curiosity of self and acceptance are in (“My life is a freak show/I got no place to go!”).

Peppy, punky songs like “The Future” and the anthemic “Everybody Hertz” feel more in keeping with former Kal Marks contemporaries like Pile and Krill, groups who fronted the Boston scene during their initial inception. But whereas Kal Marks once presented as the diffident underdog, proudly playing songs often without any tangible melody to grasp onto, the new iteration of the group allows itself more space to stretch out, making bold new harmonic choices as it does. “I’m bored again/I’ve never felt so alone,” Shane confesses on roomy album closer “Bored Again”; in a sparse, airy moment like this, we’re witness to a rare breath unadorned by anger or power, a striking instance of vulnerability that skips like a rock on a pond into lapping cymbal crashes and dual guitar leads.

At the crux of every Kal Marks release is a jaundiced study of humanity. Corporations, politicians, and organized religions are all predators of the working class, the unequivocal antagonists in every story Shane tells. My Name Is Hell is no different, but hearing his wits-end exasperation on the Jesus Lizard-esque “Debt”—“Debt! It’s growing higher, it consumes everything… Debt, you know my name!”—has considerably more juice coming from a tired 35-year-old than a tired 25-year-old. “Gone are the days I used to feel so free,” he blurts on “Shit Town,” a post-hardcore suburban anthem that doubles as one of the album’s most melodic offerings, his tone biting and cold.

My Name Is Hell is a chronicle of fortitude. “Won’t let Hell win,” Shane repeats on the album’s spongy title track, alluding to his closest encounter with his maker. For this band to be suffocated by working-class adulthood would be antithetical to its very purpose. Instead, Shane and company once again face the realities that plague them most. It’s this persistence, this bootstrapping style of trauma management, that cement Kal Marks as the stoic foremen of Boston’s post-hardcore movement.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kal Marks - My Name Is Hell Music Album Reviews Kal Marks - My Name Is Hell Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, August 15, 2022 Rating: 5

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