The Hue - Beyond Words CD

The Hue infuses the tracks of “Beyond Words” with dazzling guitar pyrotechnics, intricate arrangements and a variety of musical styles.
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, The Hue presents 9 ambitious tracks with the release of "Beyond Words."  With a sound that is steeped in such seemingly different genres as metal, jazz fusion, and rock-n-roll, the Hue presents a collection of tracks that will surely enthuse musicians and the lover of progressive guitar.  The band features the talents of Brian Gilmanov on drums, Kyle Meyers on bass, and Jared Rabin and Marcus Rezak on guitars.  Gilmanov, Rabin and Rezak share songwriting responsibilities for the album.  With tracks that demonstrate a love for jazz guitar and a healthy respect for metal as well, the album keeps its listeners on their toes.  These tracks present precise arrangements, atmospheric, crunchy guitar solos and aggressive work from the rhythm section.

The album begins with the swagger of "Blackout," a muscular guitar workout accentuated by Brian Gilmanov's driving work on the drum kit.  The track proves to be a dazzling mixture of jazz fusion and metal before settling into a striking, atmospheric jam.  "Igneous Pillow" begins with crystalline, searching guitar and challenging arrangements.  The track has moments that sound reminiscent of old fusion giants like Return to Forever, the Weather Report, and Mahavishnu Orchestra.  "Quiet Defiance" begins with lonely, sparse guitar but launches forward robustly with driving rhythms and screaming chord progressions.  Guitarists Jared Rabin and Marcus Rezak complement each other nicely on this track.  "From Anger" begins with driving guitar and coalesces into frantic measures and head-banging guitar.  "Like Lines," composed by Rabin, starts in light, airy waters but ventures forward with searching guitar and interesting, almost atonal, flourishes.    

"Bipolar Pride" is a layered, 14 minute jam penned by drummer Brian Gilmanov.  The song begins with loping guitar before settling into a nice syncopated groove.  Gilmanov pounds the skins frantically for this track, matching the intensity of his guitarists step for step.  The track morphs into a yearning guitar solo before ratcheting up in intensity, proving to be a journey that ventures through many different waters.  A dazzling bit of guitar fireworks manifests itself near the tenth minute that shows the Hue's "teeth," for lack of a better word.  This results in a frantic drum display and the ambitious track charges to its conclusion.  "Only Way Out," also penned by drummer Gilmanov, spotlights aggressive guitar and driving percussion.  "Waking Visions" begins with aggressive riffs before settling into a nice, confident groove.  The track features guest musician Erik Levy (Garaj Mahal) on keyboards and challenging, complicated arrangements.  Like most of the tracks on this album, "Waking Visions" changes directions frequently and features nice interplay between Levy's keyboard and guitars.  The track ventures shortly through uncharacteristically serene waters before closing with some crunch.

The tracks of "Beyond Words" showcase a band with immense musical chops.  The Hue successfully melds jazz fusion and metal to create a certain "jam with teeth."  Certain tracks will meander lightly through initial chords only to detonate under the intensity of Gilmanov's spirited drum work.  The three different songwriters for the Hue each contribute their own unique style, with Gilmanov's tracks being driving, aggressive numbers.  Jared Rabin's tracks feature interesting guitar arrangements and a jazz "fusion" sensibility.  Rezak's excellent contributions to the album, "From Anger" and "Waking Visions" feature frantic guitar and prove to be two of my favorite tracks.  In reviewing this album, I found that the members of the Hue demonstrated themselves to be superlative musicians.  The complex arrangements presented herein often dovetail into feverish metal riffs or moments of yearning complexity.  Like a roller coaster careening to the bottom of a steep hill, the tracks of "Beyond Words" provide a similar, fist-clenching ride.  

- J. Evan Wade