Wednesday, September 11, 2013

SO HIDEOUS

New York City quartet So Hideous announces the October 22nd release of its debut full-length album, Last Poem/First Light.

Like New York itself, a place of sewer depths and skyscraper heights, So Hideous combines utter extremes and makes them one. On Last Poem/First Light, the band redefines the term "epic" with a violently beautiful sound, uniting the ugly and the majestic, the anguished and the grandiose.


On one hand there are rabid vocals leading a torrent of blackened hardcore that evokes the intensity of 90s German legends Acme. On the other hand there are angelic melodies and lush atmospheres recalling The Cure's masterpiece, Disintegration, or the symphonic swells of a John Williams film score. These two sides, equally prominent, coexist in unison, strengthening each other and creating one supremely cathartic sound.

Last Poem/First Light was recorded and mixed by Dean Baltulonis (Agnostic Front, Lucero) and mastered by Scott Hull (not the Pig Destroyer guitarist but the mastering engineer whose credits include Sting and Lou Reed). Six songs, 33 minutes, the album was crafted for maximum sonic impact - drums explode and rich tones haunt with crystal clarity. Most of the orchestral and choral sounds on the album were performed live in the studio by The First Light Orchestra, a New York-based group consisting of ten string players, a tuba, and four vocalists!

The tracklist is as follows:

1) Rising
2) Stabat Mater
3) My Light
4) Rhapsody
5) Last Poem
6) Glory

Comprised of four native New Yorkers - Brandon Cruz on guitar and keyboards, his brother Chris Cruz on bass and vocals, drummer Danny Moncada, and guitarist Etienne Vazquez - So Hideous released its debut EP in 2011 and was praised by Decibel Magazine as "walls of shoegazy sound, throat-scraping vocals, an active rhythm section, and an uplifting orchestral bent". Since the start, the majority of the band's music has been composed on piano by Brandon Cruz, inspired largely by "film scores and 20th century minimalist composers like Arvo Part and Philip Glass", then fleshed out into songs by the full band. Chris Cruz, Moncada, and Vazquez share years of history playing in bands together, including one death metal act that caught the ear of Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones and toured with world repeatedly as the live soundtrack for Jones' acclaimed modern dance company.

In the context of today's scene, So Hideous fit loosely with other bands exploring the nexus between contrasting extremes - "post-everything" bands like Vattnet Viskar and Deafheaven. But be assured, So Hideous possesses its own unique soul and singular voice, and Last Poem/First Light is its extraordinary statement of intent.

Look for So Hideous playing live throughout the fall and winter. On certain select dates, So Hideous will be joined onstage by The First Light Orchestra.