The Hyena Kill – A Disconnect: Album Review

The Hyena Kill grow from a duo to a quartet; the results are devastating…in the best way possible. A Disconnect is a huge step up.

Released: 5th March 2021

Label: APF Records

Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital

It’s been a few years since The Hyena Kill imparted their last album into our ears. There was a fury and fire on that record that Steven Dobbs and Lorna Blundell slayed with. With A Disconnect, and the addition of two new band members, they have added a huge slice of epic to their fury and fire.

A Disconnect is a personal album, that by Dobbs’ own admission, was written at a very low point in his life. You can feel the claustrophobia in the album from start to finish, and the cover album looks like something akin to a mangled heart.

When you get into the music you can peel off a bunch of reference points from the world of music, but when you dig deeper you can see that The Hyena Kill are clearly forging their own path, and with the addition of Sam Jones on guitar and Charlie Seisay’s on bass, they are a band that should be on everyone’s lips on the back of the album.

The Hyena Kill (Picture: Jen Hingley)

Septic opens up the album with a rising tide of tension filled distortion. The unease is already evident. Cutting into Passive Disconnect with furious drumming and dense guitars from the opener really grabs your attention. If you have never seen The Hyena Kill live, and never witnessed Lorna Blundell play drums, be sure to sort that out as soon as you can. Watching this band in full flight is really something. With material like Passive Disconnect being added to their arsenal, it’s going to be something special to see. What is brilliant in this is that there is a Tool like shift in tempo and tone halfway through which catches you unaware.

Whilst the music is truly spellbinding, the vocals of Steven Dobbs are terrifyingly taut. Every sinew is stretched. The Bossk like post-rock opening to Cauterised is a thing of beauty, but when Dobbs jumps in on the vocals, you can feel the emotion flowing out of him. The level of emotion does not abate throughout. What is also clear from Cauterised is that the amount of noise The Hyena Kill are going to make is monumental.

Witness has a dance based groove at its core and the guitars jockey along throughout. Whilst there isn’t much light in the lyrical content, this song is musically a little lighter, but still with the added ‘heavy.’ It’s just heavy you could have a little boogie to!

The Tool style riffs return on Close Enough, with some killer guitar breakdowns. What is key here, is that The Hyena Kill don’t overdo the aspects of the music that will have you grinning from ear to ear. They regulate the glory to leave you gagging for me. It ensures that the pacing of the album is tight to the nail.

In pacing the record, there is the lamenting Thin in the middle of the album. A mournful cello adds an extra level of despair to the acoustic led song. Again, Dobbs yanks at the heart strings in his vocal delivery. I challenge you not to be moved on your journey through A Disconnect.

After the acoustic detour, the explosive riffs of Sam Jones return. A Queens Of The Stone Age style romp through Bleached shows the brilliant and driving bass that The Hyena Kill are going to permanently have in their ranks courtesy of Charlie Seisay. Glass Scene has more post rock stylings and isn’t far removed from Shelter era Alcest. As the track builds to its conclusion, the band again exercises restraint in not just going for the obvious towering wall of noise that they are so adept at creating.

The penultimate track, Incision, strips away those shackles once more for a triumphant home straight. The groove returns one more time as the album builds to its crescendo. Mire closes out the album with an ambient style intro before Dobbs shines once more on vocals alongside a solitary electric guitar. The slow pounding of the drums from Blundell adds the colour and the ambience returns to send A Disconnect off into the sunset.

There is an intimacy and expansiveness to A Disconnect. For a band to rise up and return in the face of adversity with such devastating results is testament to the powerhouse talent of the band. I sincerely hope that A Disconnect propels this band further into the masses’ minds.

Watch Cauterised from The Hyena Kill below.

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