The Pitch: The DIY spirit lives on with energetic Berlin math rock/post-hardcore group Hedger. Expanding their previous 3-song EP into a full length debut, it's as good a time as any to check them out. FFO: Fugazi, Sinatra, Poison The Well
What I Like: In addition to having a soft spot for this early 90's-sounding post-hardcore sound, I can't ignore anything that makes me reflect back on the work of Poison The Well. This is far from a metalcore album, but the similarites are there; particularly to the more eclectic outing, Versions. Steffen's vocals traverse a similar range as Jeffrey's, often alternating between half-speaking/half-singing and a full on, unapologetic scream. When you add the noisy, wailing guitars and mathy drumming on top of that it's almost like listening to some lost demo. But at the risk of turning this review into yet another love letter to one of my favorite bands, I digress. What's important here is that Hedger not only have their own passion and strong performance skills to build off of, but also intangible spiritual connections to a defunct band with fans just dying to capture that lightning in a bottle once more. Go get 'em.
Critiques: There are some vocal moments, alternatively, that I'm not such a fan of. When he drops into the lower register, it turns into an extra yowly Phil Anselmo impression that for me just doesn't work. Ditch these and my impression instantly jumps a few points. I also feel like these tracks need a few more "setpieces," if you will. They're fun to listen to, but I don't always find them super memorable.
The Verdict: Hedger are one of those bands that probably sounds about the same live as they do on tape. This is undeniably a good thing. It can be hard to really nail that sound while also making sure all of the instruments come through in the right balance. I am confident that these guys will find a following on their own, but I encourage all of you PTW fans in particular to hop on this bandwagon now. It scratches that itch while offering something a little different at the same time.
Flight's Fav's: Wicked Companion, Frail Hack, Lost Ground