5ive – Hesperus

5 out of 5

Label: Tortuga

Produced by: Andrew Schneider

Stepping past the unfortunate name-sharing with boy band 5ive, Boston’s heavy rocking duo went out with a bang with Hesperus, building off their established guitar and drums (and guitar and guitar) pummeling that’s unrepentently head banging but also gets-stuck-in-your-head melodic.  There are group’s that do the instrumental thing with more math panache, or more drawn out ebbs and flows – you can always count on Hesperus’ tracks to break out into rock a minimum of a  few bars down the road -but for every jaw-dropping experience I’ve had listening to some kind of technical musical wizardry, there are an equal amount of times where I’d wish said wizards would just put their heads down and play; just let the riffs ring out.  And this is what 5ive –  epitomized by this album – do.

Which, from afar, doesn’t seem all that complicated: every song is essentially an iteration of play-it-slow, then hit-the-distortion-pedal-and-play-it-faster, and then a trade off of those modes for however many minutes follow.  But it’s all the work done beyond those essentials that bakes and ices this music cake to perfection, whether it’s the sequencing that bookends the disc with explosive opener Gulls and the 12-minute build and release closer Gulls II, thereby setting the stage for the more contemplative tracks in between; the insane amount of layering that must’ve been done to make one guitar sound like a hundred; or the compositional smarts that allow guitarist Ben Carr and drummer Charles Harrold to know exactly how long you can repeat a rockin’ riff before it becomes tiresome.  These attributes add up to a unique heavy rock experience that’s both dense and simple; intelligently designed but also perfect for aggressively pumping your fist to.