Hey Colossus – The Guillotine

Album Review by Adam Turner-Heffer | 29 May 2017
Album title: The Guillotine
Artist: Hey Colossus
Label: Rocket Recordings
Release date: 2 Jun

London sextet Hey Colossus' latest is a barbed punch at the UK's current political climate. The band have been on a roll since 2015 when they released two excellent albums – Radio Static High and In Black and Gold – proving themselves to be remarkably self-assured, prolific and consistent right off the bat. Now, they're back with their scathing follow-up The Guillotine which takes a rather large swipe at the current state of the nation.

Loosely speaking, The Guillotine feels, if not a concept album, then certainly linked together by a general feeling of rage at the political and social climate. Opener Honest to God seethes at the future prospects of young people having to deal with their elders' decisions, its bassline creeping along with a menace which never really lets up over the album's 8 tracks and 45 minutes. 

Back in the Room, featuring Hawkwind's Nick Turner, layers Baroness-esque "Sludge Rock" riffs over a mechanic, krautrock beat which steamrolls the listener into submission. The interplay is masterful here, with the three guitarists intertwining their parts in and out of focus. No more is this evident than on the album's central masterpiece Calenture Boy, a stunning sub-5-minute epic which builds upon a deceptively simple riff into a dramatic climax that Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds would be proud of.

While The Guillotine's second half doesn't quite hit the peaks of its first, it still remains an enthralling and embittering listen. Frontman Paul Sykes' lyrics are particularly barbed throughout, especially on later tracks Englishman and the album's title track. Hey Colossus' talent for blending heavy, punishing riffs and finding a melody to shine through the storm is inspired, and the reason why they remain one of the country's most exciting acts. 

Listen to: Calenture Boy, Honest to God, The Guillotine