HIRAM is a singular and mysterious English band from Sheffield who has just released an interesting new album "See the Thing Within the Thing"... Singular, not just by playing some original Progressive Sludge-Post Metal/Rock, but in the format and application choices - the band does things particularly : 1st effort released in 2007 was a double album ("If Up Were Along" 1&2) of about 1 hour and a half, while their "Love's Lock" was just containing one epic piece of 32 minutes !!! Mysterious because not talkative at all concerning their history/presentation (you just happen to know that Sam W. formed the band in 2002), there's also no photos on their sites and the line-up is presented as : Bing Garcia Morello, Greg Turner, Tommy Binks, Jonathan Wells + SAM JACOB - Bass & Wisdom, MATT RHODES - Guest Vocals & Lyrics, SAM WOODCOCK - Bass & Hairdo, VICKY WELLS - Vocals.
It lets the imagination work while the incredible richness of the music may suggest that we've got here a collective of musicians from very diverse backgrounds and probably origins too (?).
I must admit that it took me a while to get into HIRAM, maybe because it's something not that current to have some overpowered Sludge with gnarly vocals and even punishing growls ("winner dies last -aspiration-") mixed with Post Rock/Metal - that's nothing new,ok- but more significantly with long progressive structures, at times folkish or jazzy at others ! Also there's in my opinion a too modern edge in the production which doesn't serve some clear/melodic vocals who come along Post Rock flourishes, this needs some time to get into (if you finally succeed... I did), especially the way starts the 2nd song after a nice instrumental introduction filled with gloomy drone.
Musically, one can easily hear a creative potential and multi-facets and those vocals are on the other hand perfectly valued in the intimate moods, like in "it can't come quick enough", the longest song of the album with 17 minutes of soaring and airy soundscapes which after a jazzy start, continues in a great wave of psyche jamming (the only real one of the album) and ends in some sort of tribal drums and percussions, a perfect summary of what HIRAM is capable of in its moments of intricacy and there's a great part for this which grows on you at each listening.
There's two other songs clocking at about 10 minutes which give place to uncompromising moods of heavy sludge, full of abrasiveness, menacing and doomier, logically in those moments the vocals are pretty classically screamed (but great). If HIRAM has also here its straight and repetitive structures, those songs let place to long quieter moments with multilayered guitars and more experimentative vocal lines ("conspiration").
Truly unpredictable but still cohesive (would be curious to see how some parts are maybe adapted for Live duties!), those guys know amazingly how to craft very personal songs, Progressive never means here demonstrative, rather more refined and audacious which with a rich and good musicianship gives something pretty unique...
Give this NAME YOUR PRICE download a chance, it will surely help them to come out of the shadows !