It’s been seven years since Hex Machine unleashed their last album, Fixator on the world. In that time, guitarist/vocalist Trevere Thomas and drummer Douglas Andrae joined noise rock legend Steve Austin as the rhythm section for Today Is The Day and toured the world. After over 200 shows and six tours, and an infamous van accident that occurred to Thomas and Austin, they felt is was time to get back to their own business and start working on a follow up to Fixator.
Well, that time in TITD has proven fruitful because not only is their new album Cave Painting, more aggressive, it also pushes their hard hitting noise rock into new directions. In this case, Thomas has added a touch of moody post punk to the proceedings, giving the album, a wide ranging sound. But, it is never forced, and it all flows quite seamlessly.
Songs such as “Oh You Pretty Things”, “Western Mood Swing” and “Talking Back To Heaven” merge hard hitting feedback laden fuzz with moodier post punk tones to create an interesting hybrid. The band even goes full on post punk with a cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ “President Gas”, albeit with a heavier and more aggressive edge than the original.
On the other side, songs such as “Scimitar Blues” and “Lemonade Stance” showcase a more urgent, punkier side to the band. “Spiral Outhouse” merges heavy riffs and rhythms with crystalline guitar lines and synths to provide some of the most off the wall moments on the album. It’s the band getting a bit more experimental. “Youth Tube” splits the difference between angry, lurching noise rock and post punk to great effect.
You’ve got to hand it to Hex Machine, as they’ve managed to broaden their sound without losing one iota of their original hard-hitting identity on Cave Painting. It’s a much welcome return for the band, that should have all fans of noise rock, post punk or just plain adventurous heavy music salivating.