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Green Claws – Hell Is For Hugo Pt. 1 – The Descent

Green Claws
Hell Is For Hugo Pt. 1 – The Descent
by Matt Bozenda at 01 August 2020, 4:14 PM

Consider the humble concept album. Taken all at once, the tracks of a concept album become more than the sum of their parts, and the lyrics sheets have almost a novella quality to them. There are hundreds of them out there, in no shortage of genres, and often with multiple entries by the same artist.

Enter English singer/songwriter George Purves and his long-germinating project, GREEN CLAWS. According to an attached press release, the band was conceived in 2015, centered around the idea of a rock musical loosely based on ‘Dante’s Inferno’ from the Divine Comedy. What he has wrought is "Hell Is For Hugo," a saga of six EP-length novelettes that are sure to tell an epic tale come Halloween. George Purves has put in a lot of work himself, recruiting Pat Noon of Eightsixteen/Trax East (best known for their work with BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and SAVES THE DAY) for the mixing work, while the mastering is credited to Alan Douches at West West Side Music (having done the same for the likes of VISIGOTH, MIDLAKE, and THRICE).

The first chapter, or Part 1 if you will, is "The Descent." Hugo himself is introduced on "The Brick," where against the backdrop of light-hearted and proggy metal, Hugo recounts his friends abandoning him in the midst of vandalism for vengeance. "Calling All Demons" discusses the frustrated demons who are searching for a wayward soul to bring to Hell, who, upon giving up and heading home, are followed in by Hugo. For this track, the light touch is given a bit more force, and a more traditional metal tune plays with the ever-tolling bell.

The bells continue to toll for "Lucifer Hotel," presented more like a halfway house to prepare one for the transition into Hell itself. This chapter ends with "Stolen By A Demon," bringing Emily into the narrative, a girl searching for her father and whose soul was claimed last year by the fiends in "Calling All Demons."

"Hell Is For Hugo Pt 1 - The Descent" is characterized by a distinct influence of progressive music, for which the concept album was practically designed. Their own press release says it’s for fans of bands like GHOST, HAUNT, GYGAX, PUPPY, and WEEZER, but there’s also an appeal to the KASABIAN crowd, or maybe even for youngsters getting through "The Wall" for the first time. There’s enough metal going on to qualify for the label, although the ardent ‘joyless’ metalhead will likely be unsated. One could even argue that there’s a certain… pop… to the album, which to some is near unforgivable. For those of us who can still feel feelings, however, GREEN CLAWS has offered up a small bite of good fun, and with five more chapters to go before Halloween 2020, "Hell Is For Hugo" is shaping up for a grinning romp down the mid-late year.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. The Brick
2. Calling All Demons
3. Lucifer Hotel
4. Stolen By A Demon
George Purves – Vox, guitar, synths, other instruments.
Pat Noon – Mixing
Alan Douches – Mastering
Record Label: Independent


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