by Scott Roos
Hellbent, the latest official single from Regina’s The Hourhand, with its bluesy, swaggering, central riff seemingly torn directly from the pages of Thin Lizzy and AC/DC tablature books, delivers a more honest, yet understated punch to the cranium than their previous outings.
In the past, The Hourhand has been a band that’s been balls to the wall in everything that they’ve put out. Where their debut “Speakeasy” presents a monolithic, doom laden, Black Sabbath-esque approach, and “Hobo and the Bull” takes an ill begotten stab at combining 80’s glam with a modern “active rock” slant, “Hellbent”, with its med tempo groove, at least sonically, demonstrates amazing restraint, to create a sensation of tension and release.
For the recording of “Hellbent'', the band went to Hamilton to work with Monster Truck’s Jon Harvey at Threshold Recording Studio. Harvey’s production is raw, edgy and organic helping to create a fun, head bobbing, catchy as fuck track. It has a live off the floor feel. Listening to the track creates the impression that you’re at one of their shows which was likely the intent of the spartan production.
On the surface, from a songwriting perspective, “Hellbent” provides a snapshot of a band still trying to discover who they are as they continue to hone in on their sound. Guitarist Cole Van Woert’s tasty leads in concert with Dawson Dressler’s meat and potatoes drumming and Gray Farrow’s soaring vocals are on full display here. There’s immense talent in this band and “Hellbent” displays it well.
So, at the end of the day, it’s safe to say that the Regina rockers continue to claw their way up the ladder in the province’s music scene, centimeter by centimeter, where every track they release from this point forward is an essential listen and any live show they play is an experience you won’t likely forget. In a world where some say that rock is “dead” and bands of similar ilk are continuously trying to dress up the genre in different clothes whilst achieving the exact same result as the literally thousands of bands that have come before doing the same thing, the glass ceiling is not quite in reach for The Hourhand ... yet... They are a ways away from breaking it but the potential is there. It's pretty obvious with "Hellbent".
“Hellbent” is a solid effort from a band attempting to achieve mainstream FM radio recognition. They don’t exactly have “lightning in a bottle” with “Hellbent” but the song still kicks ass all the same. It at least kicks just enough ass for the tastemakers in the province to sit up and take notice which, to a young band like The Hourhand, is a good thing. "Hellbent" is a nice stepping stone for a band with a very bright future ahead.