Steven Dobb – Guitar / Lead Vox
Lorna Blundell – Drums/ Backing/vocals
Sam Jones – Lead Guitar/Synths
Charlie Seisay – Bass
2.) Passive Disconnect
5.) Close Enough
8.) Glass Scene
Hailing from the dark and gritty streets of Manchester – The Hyena Kill: a brooding 4 piece, attempt to unleash a bleak and intense masterpiece to find reconciliation of personal trauma and pain through their upcoming album release, ‘A Disconnect.’
‘The Hyena Kill’ made their entrance on the music scene with their explosive 2012 debut EP, ‘Gush’, which contained four tracks of “searing, coruscating distort-pop”, and they, at the time, consisted of just Steven Dobb and drummer Lorna Blundell. In 2014 the Manchester-based duo refined and honed the focus of their fierce alternative rock, with their ‘Scrape My Bones’ EP and following singles, ‘Suck It Up’ and double-header ‘Still Sick / Blisters’ and evolved something “harsher, leaner and altogether nastier”. The result of this transition fulminated with their debut album ‘Atomised’ (2016) – a brutally honest depiction of life in modern Britain.
After an introduction of seemingly building white noise, which sends a chilling shiver over you, the first track, and my first experience of ‘The Hyena Kill’ ,comes into focus with ‘Passive Disconnect’, a raw and emotive rock/pop medley, with a nod to one of the band’s influences, ‘Deftones’. It’s slow and dream-like and captures what I think will be the essence of this band.
“These are lyrics that deal with and focus on uncomfortable subjects that were dominating my life at the time of writing. The words and movements in this record are mostly without resolution. There are no happy endings or moments of clarity,’ says frontman Steven Dobb, and it becomes apparent that his intent is conveyed accurately in the song writing on display. Without it sounding negative, tragedy and anguish pour from each track on ‘A Disconnect’, and I fully believe the band has worn their hearts on their sleeves during the writing and recording process of this record.
Track 04. ‘Witness’ has a pop/indie feel to its backing music, and even a My Chemical Romance feel to its vocal delivery. What’s nice about the layout of tracks on this album is while they never feel they should be on separate albums, there are subtle changes to each song, just separating it slightly from the rest, keeping it fresh and exciting to receive. ‘Witness’ builds and builds, from quite a toe-tapping indie record you might hear on the radio to a head-bashing, triumphant finish.
Halfway through ‘A Disconnect’ everything slows for a moment, and a standout song comes into play. ‘Thin’ is a powerful and honest track, reminiscent of a dark and melancholy Snow Patrol. This dark, acoustic, piece really pulls the album in half, in a good way, and really shows what this band is capable of when everything is slowed down a notch, and allowed to breathe properly.
No sooner has the melancholy faded out, than the attitude and full-throttle grit of The Hyena Kill comes screaming back with ‘Bleached’. Where the previous, slow song added a great gap in the album, track 07 reaches through the headphones, pulls you in and demands you shut up and listen to the angry and angst-filled shouts of Steven Dobb.
In 2019 the duo was looking further into atmospheric elements that were previously visited on their majestic ‘Spun’ EP, and so they recruited Sam Jones (guitars, synth) and Charlie Seisay (bass). The addition of their new recruits has allowed the band to take their expansive sound to a new level, which ultimately led to the moulding of The Hyena Kill that stands before us today.
The final serenade blessed upon us by ‘The Hyena Kill,’ is Track 10. ‘Mire’, a final spacey dreamscape of drifting melodies and experimental sounds. What’s great about this album is it’s almost like a novel, it wraps itself up perfectly, almost coming back full circle to where we began, and I honestly think the Mancunians planned it out perfectly. As the final vocals drift out, a repeating synth melody gently leads us out until finally our story with The Hyena Kill ends.
It’s a powerfully emotive record and is worth a second listen to take everything in and to decipher the meanings behind the impressive tracks. The Hyena Kill have opened up their hearts about grief and turmoil, and allowed us to experience their vision and it is a vision worth taking note of.
‘The Hyena Kill – A Disconnect’ is available now via APF Records