As I’ve mentioned in my past reviews, I am, first and foremost, an emotional listener. Technical prowess means little to me if it doesn’t serve to elevate a specific subset of sensations. This may explain a lot about my listening habits.
In their “We Are Very Happy,” it’s clear from the beginning that the Ghent-based Huracán are hungry to make a statement. The Belgian outfit weaves stories to balance the dark with the light, to present exhilaration and fury, and to find connections between these two feelings.
From the first track, they speak the language of emotion as few bands have while conveying an avalanche of consistency with their razor-sharp riffs, psych-rooted vocals, and propulsive drumming. Recalling bands including Pelican, The Ocean, or Pallbearer, “We Are Very Happy” embodies both ardor and aggression, expressing rage, passion, discontent, and vivacity in equal measures.
‘We Are Very Happy’ is packed to the hilt with dynamic and dense compositions that caress, soar, and punish alike. The album’s opener shows this is not your typical deliberately paced sludge/post-metal offering. The focal point is the lyric work; however, the instrumentals are wonderfully varied and deeply engaging. The idea can be directly applied to Simon Barroso, the artist who designed the album’s visual elements and appears in the video for the title track.
Crushing tracks, bellowing tones, and feedback, are post-metal’s bread-and-butter. And as Huracán demonstrate, they are not shy about their intentions. ‘Dobermann Multiverse’ humbly reminds the listener that when the power of the beat, the voice, and the chord, are in great harmony, it can stir some insane emotions. When the band leans into muscularity, their riffs harken noise and progressive rock.
‘Before I was born’ exhales deep from its chest like amid a trance, spiraling from agitation to near-madness during frenzied moments of the spoken word. The percussion picks the listener up and sets it back on a raucous, lively course. The vocals are cushioned between weighty rhythms and the textured guitar work of Geert Reygaert and Bert Roos’ steadily pounding bass. ‘Sky Burial’ allows the reverberating guitars to spin a web of feelings that, while typical for post-metal, foreshadows Huracán‘s mission.
The album’s ethos can also be glimpsed in the single ‘Bruises’ video. Director Wim Reygaert also contributed guest vocals on the track and sourced the impassioned interpretive dance performance that drives the clip. Interestingly, it wasn’t created with ‘Bruises’ in mind, but it certainly feels that way when the music matches the frenetic gesticulation on display.
With ‘Bending Tress,’ you witness a dynamic composition, climactic and life-affirming statements, and wide-ranging vocal talents. Whether belting out mellow cleans or blackened growls, the vocalist conveys myriad emotions through his diverse vocal styles.
Take heed of the rushing and insanely tidal waves of vocals on ‘Unfortunate’ and how they unspool into a vortex of energic and dynamic soloing. Furthermore, the beautiful guitar work resonates in the most sludge and post-metal way, bringing the record to a fulfilling conclusion. Hearing ‘Still There’ and ‘Kings of the Worlds’ makes me put “We Are Very Happy” on the map as one of the best instrumental, sludge, and post-metal albums, particularly in how consistently entertaining and memorable it is.
For how excellent the record is at introducing innovative ideas at just the right moments, “We Are Very Happy” still blows my fragile mind and establishes it as a force to be reckoned with. ‘Embrace the Cold’ conjures a passionate delivery coupled with whispery vocals and top-notch songwriting. There’s never a shortage of cool ideas or tempo shifts, and ‘Bruises (Spookasem Remix)’ strengthens the point. With its haunting presence of ardor and aggression, Huracán came out of nowhere and knocked me flat on my back.
The album grew on me with every song, launching Huracán straight into my heart and into the upper echelons of 2022’s great quality releases. Undoubtedly, everything in “We Are Very Happy” is geared towards a forceful yet solid listening experience: the dynamic song constructions, the massive production, the searing guitar solos, and vibrant vocals; the band lets you wallow in pure madness and virtuosity before burying you in avalanches of cascading sensations. Favorite tracks: ‘Embrace the Cold’ and ‘Bruises’ (I reckon the remix blew my fucking brains out, and it’s been on repeat for, mind you, too much).
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