Hella’s follow-up album There’s No 666 In Outer Space is a far cry from the meticulous mathematical structure and progressive focus of its predecessors, Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard and Acoustics.
Absent this time around was Spencer Seim and Zach Hill’s conceptual focus. Unlike Hella’s 2006 EP Acoustics, 666 fails to streamline one vision and is instead so conceptually enamored with itself that it comes across trite and unimaginative.
Songs like “Dull Fangs” and “There’s No 666 In Outer Space” are self-indulgent, drone on past their prime, and are infused with every guitar riff, drum combination, and kitchen sink. The track “Let Your Heavies Out” is a less than stellar attempt at a thinly veiled Pere Ubu song without the luster or texture of what could have been a great homage. Now featuring friend and vocalist Aaron Ross, too much of a good thing is still too much. While 666 was a calculated risk, its over-thought and oppression of detail shields the playful, spontaneous subtleties closely associated with previous works. 666 implies that Hella can be pretentious simply for the sake of being pretentious. While there is no mistaking the musicianship of its members, a perspective and depth privy to music that is progressive, subversive, or avant-garde, has gone missing from this latest record.
There’s No 666 In Outer Space is too easily forgettable and lacks the distinct vision so closely associated with Hella’s prior releases that it’s hard to believe it’s even the same band. New members, new ideas, new aesthetics, perhaps a new name is needed for this band formerly called Hella.