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hAND - Kintsugi Award winner

hAND
Kintsugi
by Matt Coe at 01 September 2014, 8:47 PM

A four-piece outfit from Surrey, UK, hAND approaches the Progressive Rock/ Metal genre from a left field perspective, willingly incorporating aspects of Gothic and Alternative music. Their third album “Kintsugi” is my first exposure to their sound, and I must admit right away that I was floored and blown away by their dazzling abilities and translating them into palatable songs.

“Level One” immediately takes off on a dizzying keyboard/ guitar/ bass run, slowing the arrangement down 15 seconds in, but giving the listener multiple aspects to absorb on a Melodic and Progressive level – as bassist Kat Ward glides over the top vocally in a mysterious, semi-Alternative manner. Tom Johnstone as a keyboardist doesn’t just throw down typical virtuoso runs, as he will often inject sound effects or smaller echoing nuances that can also be very ear pleasing – they can be swirling, almost 80’s-ish computer sounds in “Windlestraw”, or heavier as in the frantic “Volcanic Panic”.

hAND knows how to mix up their arrangements and sounds: getting very funky and eclectic on “Nebula” where Kat and Kieren play off of each other in a riff tango as Dan dazzles from a rhythmic perspective, especially in the triplets snare and cymbal off-time antics, then very jazzy and reflective on the follow up “Amazing Burn”. Favorites vary depending on the day or time I take in these tracks: right now I’ve been giddy over the 8:08 “Through the Big Door, Up the Stairs and Out” as it’s as maze like as you would expect and the aforementioned “Level One”. If there’s one area I feel the band could improve upon, it would be seasoning in Kat’s vocals, as she has a moaning nature at times that probably works better in a live situation than on a studio recording.

So imagine a montage of TOOL, OPETH, RUSH, DREAM THEATER, and possibly THE CURE and that will give you a ball park idea of what to expect from hAND. Exciting to the Progressive Metal community, and intriguing to listen to again and again.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Level One
2. Windlestraw
3. Anthem
4. Volcanic Panic
5. Nebula
6. Amazing Burn
7. Hide You
8. Through the Big Door, Up the Stairs and Out
9. Words to That Effect
Lineup:
Dan Thomas - Drums
Tom Johnstone - Keyboards
Kat Ward - Vocals, Bass
Kieren Johnstone - Guitars
Record Label: Brutal Elite Records
     


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