Hella: Tripper

Sargent House

Some folks think if you've heard one Hella album you've heard them all, but they're overlooking the intricate subtleties that make the band such a monster. The one constant, though, is its insanely complex approach - of all the bands ever labeled "math rock," Hella is the only one that honestly seems to rise to the term. The group's new record is a crushing amalgam of everything in its rearview. What Tripper lacks in Hold Your Horse Is-style melody, it makes up for in brute force. For the first time ever guitarist Spencer Seim actually seems willing to match energy levels with drummer Zach Hill, who remains, with all his guest spots and insanely unknowable poly-rhythms, the hardest-working drummer in rock. Tripper unravels crazily as it goes from tightly melodious prog anthems ("Headless") to psych-out mindfuckery ("Netgear"), making for a thoroughly exhilarating, if enigmatic, listening experience. Not for the faint of heart. (4 out of 5 stars)