Review: Hey Colossus ‘In Blood’

After the release and subsequent success of their album Dances/Curses in November 2020, the London-based band Hey Colossus are now back with a brand-new record called In Blood. Anyone who has a special place in their hearts for post-punk will testify that they are also incredible live, on top of always delivering quality noisy bangers.

Hey Colossus 'In Blood' Artwork
Hey Colossus ‘In Blood’ Artwork

The band’s fourteenth record is no exception, although this particular one is definitely more on the sombre and quieter side of things we have been accustomed to for the past twenty years, probably due to the dark times of Covid-19, like most of us.

What is really striking with this new record is the change of atmosphere in comparison to their previous effort as My Name In Blood opens the album with this eerie feeling that we won’t be boogie-ing a lot with that one. Thankfully, Paul Sykes’ vocals and his three axemen friends Joe Thompson (bass), Chris Summerlin (guitar) and Will Pearce (guitar/backing vocals) here still sound familiar enough to reassure us enough, so we can carry on listening to it without thinking too much.

There are still noisy passages that will eventually make you dance a little, like on I Could Almost Care, TV Alone and Can’t Feel Around Us where I thought to myself that they have all the potential in the world to become classics, or at least gig staples when they will be back on the road. On the flip side, you also have gorgeous melancholic songs, proto-goth at times even, like Avalon, Curve In The Air and the very gloomy-yet-beautiful Perle. If Dances/Curses was in full technicolour, In Blood is dripping in black, white and all shades of grey, with extra hints of ghost stories and little-known mythology.

If Dances/Curses was in full technicolour, In Blood is dripping in black, white and all shades of grey…

But where the album really makes complete sense is certainly with the last song, Over Cedar Limb, a seven-odd-minute requiem that embodies all the different facets of trauma; the pain, the guilt, the confusion and then the catharsis and the relief. As someone who knows a great deal about those matters, I found it really hard to get into it at first – not because of the melodies, but because of the lyrics – and now, I’m confident saying that it might be one of the most powerful songs I’ve heard all year, I strongly urge you to give it a listen and feel all the feels.

In Blood is way more folky than noise-rock, I must insist on that point. If you were expecting Dances/Curses 2 Electric Boogaloo, well I’m sorry to tell you, but you will be disappointed, if not, it’s just going to require more extensive listens to really get into it. Or you can witness it for yourself live when they will celebrate their 20th anniversary in London at the end of September.

Either way, this record is a clear departure from the sound of their humble beginnings and sometimes, new beginnings are necessary to keep the flame alive. I’m sure we can all agree on this. But on the next album, please, make the drums a little bit more present, I’m sure Rhys Llewellyn will be able to make it happen in a live setting though.

Label: Wrong Speed Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Nessie Spencer