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HELLA

Post Rock/Math rock • United States


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Hella biography
HELLA was founded by Spencer Seim and Zach Hill in 2001, when their first band, LEGS
OF EARTH, broke up. By then they were fairly well known for their crazy shows and
Primus influenced sound.
HELLA debuted with "Leather Diamond", a self-released EP that was sold on their early
shows. Their official debut LP, "Hold Your Horse Is", came out in 2002 on 5 Rue
Christine label. On these albums they maintained their old sound: abrasive, avant
garde instrumentals.
June 17, 300s brought a new EP, "Bitches Ain't sh*t But Good People". It features
their first song with vocals, Republic Of Rough And Ready, that first appeared on the
debut EP. On On "BASBGP" it's titled D. Elkan Sings Republic Of R&R, referring to the
band's friend Dan Elkan who provided vocals for the track. On this EP, HELLA also
started experimenting with bass, synthesizer, and drum machine, while previously they
were a purely drum/guitar duo. Next EP, "Total Bugs Bunny On Wild Bass" was released
on august 26 and featured an overwhelming amount of synth, drum machine, and even
video game music. On Oct. 6th they released a double live album, as split with
Californian band DILUTE.
Third album came out in January 2004, "The Devil Isn't Red" was a return to their
classic sound, along with some later innovations, but not as experimental as the
previous EP. Later in the year they released a split 7" with FOURTET and a
Japanese-only release "Acoustics", a s-track EP. Both are fairly hard to find.
2005 brought HELLA's fourth studio album, "Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard", released on
Suicide Squeeze Records. It's an experimental album similar in structure to Works by
ELP: each member gets his own disk. First CD contains to Zach's crazy noise epic
"Church gone wild", while the second one, "Chirpin Hard", is devoted to Spencer with
his fusion, punk, math rock, and Nintendo music experimentation. Their live band has
expanded with bassist Jonathan Hischke and Dan Elkan on rhytm guitar and vocals, so
that they can perform "Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard" and pieces from "Total Bugs
Bunny" live. They have toured with well known acts such as LES CLAYPOOL, DILLINGER
ESCAPE PLAN, and THE MARS VOLTA. New CD/DVD EP, "Concentration Face/Homeboy" came out
November 8, 2005 on 5 Rue Christine label.

Bio written by The_Miracle



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Buy HELLA Music


TripperTripper
Sargent House 2011
Audio CD$9.52
$5.98 (used)
Church Gone Wild / Chirpin HardChurch Gone Wild / Chirpin Hard
Suicide Squeeze 2005
Audio CD$9.92
$2.28 (used)
Devil Isn't RedDevil Isn't Red
5 Rue Christine 2004
Audio CD$6.60
$1.98 (used)
Total Bugs Bunny on Wild BassTotal Bugs Bunny on Wild Bass
Narnack Records 2003
Audio CD$1.26
$0.47 (used)
Bitches Ain't Shit But Good PeopleBitches Ain't Shit But Good People
EP
Suicide Squeeze 2003
Audio CD$5.37
$0.01 (used)
There's No 666 in Outer SpaceThere's No 666 in Outer Space
Ipecac Recordings 2007
Audio CD$10.38
$2.89 (used)
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HELLA shows & tickets


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HELLA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HELLA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 22 ratings
Hold Your Horse Is
2002
2.62 | 11 ratings
The Devil Isn't Red
2004
2.48 | 5 ratings
Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard
2005
4.25 | 13 ratings
There's No 666 In Outer Space
2007
3.80 | 5 ratings
Tripper
2011

HELLA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 2 ratings
Hella/Dilute: Live
2003

HELLA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HELLA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HELLA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 3 ratings
Bitches Ain't Shit But Good People
2003
3.50 | 4 ratings
Total Bugs Bunny on Wild Brass
2003
5.00 | 1 ratings
Acoustics
2004
2.13 | 4 ratings
Concentration Face/Homeboy
2005

HELLA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hold Your Horse Is by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Hold Your Horse Is
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Math rock outfit Hella deliver a wonderful debut with Hold Your Horse Is, with swift and intricate playing which takes on intriguingly playful tones, suggesting a sense of humour behind the music and fostering an emotional connection which is often lacking in math rock. Spencer Seim's intricate guitar work sees him tying himself in riffy knots whilst Zach Hill isn't so much keeping time as going off his own flights of fancies. An extremely stripped down lineup doesn't equate this time to threadbare recording standards, with the album being recorded in crystal clarity to capture every intricacy of their playing. Highly recommended even for those who usually find math rock a bit cold and distant.

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 There's No 666 In Outer Space by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.25 | 13 ratings

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There's No 666 In Outer Space
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Sheavy
Collaborator Progressive Electronic Team

5 stars Back on solid ground.

After completely missing the mark with their third album, Chirpin' Hard/Church Gone Wild, this album returns back to their sound established on Hold Your Horse Is, but with much more. For starters they are no longer a duo, having brought on another guitarist in Josh Hill ( Zach's brother ), Bassist Carson McWhirter, and Singer Aaron Ross. Rest assured that their sound is still very much intact and in some ways boosted by the new members. The vocalist is a really great additioon that adds a whole new level to Hella's sound in that it really works very well. The singing never gets in the way off the muscians performances at all, and the way he sings fits the music very nicely. There also is a lot more variation between songs. The opener World Series, has a saxophone solo in it, courtesy of Skerik, who has worked with a ton of bands including Les Claypool, Kayo Dot, and toured with Roger Waters to name a few. Hand That Rocks The Cradle is a lot more electronic than anything else on this cd, but it is not the type that was on the previous albums, it is less video game like, and more synth like, and a lot smoother sounding. 2012 And Countless starts off with some electronic noise washs, before exploding into more familar Hella territory.

All the songs on this are a favorite of mine, and once again Hella have proven what a amazing and rather versatile band they are.

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 Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.48 | 5 ratings

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Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Sheavy
Collaborator Progressive Electronic Team

1 stars Wow, I really do not like this album at all. Most people would not understand what I am talking about here, but just like there is good and bad albums in any genre, there is good and bad albums in the noise genre. This album for me falls into the noise genre, and it is not a good noise album.

For starters, Zach Hills piece is way to long for me, and the only thing that I like is his crazy drumming. I am really glad that he broke this into twelve movements instead of one enormous collage of craziness. I can barely get through this song filled with too much music that reminds me of chip tune music.

The next record was no more enjoyable. it is to electronic-y and I find nothing too hold on too with either of these sets. Maybe if it was shorter I could give this album a two star rating, but as it is, it is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too long and just serves too pinch my nerves in a bad way ( The Residents know how to pinch my nerves, but in a good way ). Only get this if you can find it for cheap, and you are a completionist.

One star.

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 The Devil Isn't Red by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.62 | 11 ratings

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The Devil Isn't Red
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Sheavy
Collaborator Progressive Electronic Team

3 stars Eh. Not as memorable as their first album.

While this album starts off superbly with Hello Great Architect of The Universe, which segues very nicely into the short but good Big Tim And The Kid, both these tracks show zach Hill and Spencer Seim doing what they do best and that is playing like there is no tommorrow. the Mother Could Be You is another good track, full of amazing drums and guitar work. Top Twenty Notes is just a bit more hectic feeling than all the previous tracks with its discordant guitar and manic drumming. This is followed by the first stumble by Hella, Brown Medal 2003, it is too electronic sounding for me, it is no where near as good as the first Brown Medal. The next song Suistyle is much better and sounds like that Hella that we all know. Let me skip to the song which really brings down this record for. That would be You DJ Parents. I really am not liking this sound of electronic 90's video game style here. It does not sound good at all to me. Except No Subs is the only electronic-y song that Hella have done that I can say I like.

Overall this album does present some new ideas, but I do not like these new ideas at all, and the other tracks are not up to par with their first , and their best release.

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 Hold Your Horse Is by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Hold Your Horse Is
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Sheavy
Collaborator Progressive Electronic Team

5 stars There is not a single song on this record that I dislike. It is without a doubt loud, abusive on the ears, and completely lacking any sense of melody, and time signatures have been thrown out the window. This album to me is one of the greatest new prog masterpieces out there in a "new" category of prog. I find this much better in terms of just about everything musically to almost every new Neo-Prog band out there.

Anyway, I am done with that little side track. The muscianship by Zach Hill on drums is just crazy. He could probably keep up with any time signature you could dream up. He is one of the most underrated drummers and i have never seen him talked about by any Prog website or anything that does not really pertain directly to Math Rock. Spencer Seim on guitar is also extremely skilled at the guitar, and his skill sometimes gets overshadowed by Zach's.

The music is very demanding to listen to and to play, but I have a wierd thing for avant music and similar. The playing is immaculate and spot. it is like they can read each others mind, and even though the music may be very dissonant, the drums always go with the guitar and never do they sound at odds with one another.

I have to say I was surprised that this album was not in the top Math/Post Rock rateted, and even more surprised that it did not have many reviews and that it's rating was fairly low.

Out the new forms of Prog out there this cd is really a must have and I would recommend to anyone.

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 Hold Your Horse Is by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Hold Your Horse Is
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by JTP88

2 stars This is not for me. Sure I do find interesting the fact that this is absolutely unusual, the great ability of Zach Hill, the incredible complexity of the music and everything else, but I just can't, and I really can't, enjoy this. This lacks any kind of melody, I can't feel any intensity in the music, it's like there's a robot playing non-stop with absolutely no sense of dynamics, I can't find in the whole album one riff or passage to hold on to, it just seems nonsensical and random, and it's very disturbing.

I understand that for people who are into math rock and all its "antics", this is an absolute masterpiece, but, as a fan of progressive rock in general, I find it very hard to treat this as a good work, well, at least for me.

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 Concentration Face/Homeboy by HELLA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.13 | 4 ratings

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Concentration Face/Homeboy
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by urban_legend

4 stars Homeboy is an EP and Concentration Face is a DVD of Hella live. This review is only about an EP, haven't seen DVD yet

4,2/5 Those hwo are not familiar with avant-garde music will say that this is not music as they always say about anything really experimental. But those who have already heard Hella before won't be too surprised with this album. However Homeboy really stands out from all other Hella's albums. If I would usually describe Hella's style as experimental math-rock, here it's more noise rock. They went further than usually. It's like you take everything original about Hella's music and multiple it by two. Much more complicated melodies, more instruments playing at the same time and no parts of songs are repeated. Compared to this, "Hold your horse is" seems a bit like pop rock. The sound is pretty much usual, guitar and drums dominated and a little taste of Nintendo sound in Madonna Aproaches R&B Blonde Wreckages. All in all, strong concept album, one of the best by Hella in my opinion.

Ratings for songs : 1. Gothspel For You Not Them - 3/5 2. Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde Wreckages - 5/5 3. BC But Not Before Christ - 4/5 4. If I Were In Hella I Would Eat Lick - 4/5

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 Hold Your Horse Is by HELLA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.89 | 22 ratings

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Hold Your Horse Is
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars An absurdly complicated and laborious debut, Hella nails this first one with an impressive performance on these nine tracks. No frills here at all, instead drummer Zach Hill and guitarist Spencer Seim do what they've been doing for years on stage. This makes 'Hold Your Horse Is' much like the old blues recording sessions where a musician would just sit down, someone would hit a microphone and what was played was what you got-- pure, authentic and undecorated.

Mostly the music is an exercise in pattern building and John Nash numeric infatuations. Sanyo keyboard bleeps make an odd start but 'Biblical Violence' gets things going, Zach Hill a ravenous force on his drums, very hungry and very focused. And Spencer Seim reflects back the mathematics no problem. The two seem to have a psychic thing and often play as if they are indeed one person... you'd have to be, as to tolerate the relentless 'Republic of Rough and Ready' and '1-800-ghostdance'. 'City Folk Sitting, Sitting' is a near-epic seven minutes and the almost catchy 'Better Get a Broom' to close. These are players that appear to have been kicked in the head by a moose and are still able to calculate the value of pi, or at least attempt it. Scratchy, abrasive and rude, unwashed and stinky but overflowing with savant gifts, Hella somehow mange to keep it all alive and moving forward almost out of desperation. A band that makes you feel embarrassed to be staring at them, and a lot of fun.

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 Hella/Dilute: Live by HELLA album cover Live, 2003
3.09 | 2 ratings

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Hella/Dilute: Live
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by fungusucantkill

3 stars This is a duel live album inculding Hella and a band called Dilute. I´m not sure if Dilute was playing live because the recording quality of that cd is just fair to poor. On the live album of Hella they play some of their big hits, including Republic of Rough and Ready and Cafateria Bananas. When i first bought the cd i was unsure about what detail went on inside the cd. Theres no track listing on the back or from. Since i just saw Hella...well i ended up just grabing it anyway. Upon opening it i notice its a duel cd so i was hoping that the second band would live up to par. Dilute certainly has potential, but it needs some work. It seems sloppy and unprepared but with a little fine tuning it could be a well rounded piece of music. I was kinda let down by the fact that i bought it for $17.99 and the their were only five tracks that were on other albums that i had. All in all it was a good live performance but this isn´t something for someone who has never heard Hella. This is just an extra piece of merch.

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 Concentration Face/Homeboy by HELLA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.13 | 4 ratings

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Concentration Face/Homeboy
Hella Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

1 stars My musical path owes a lot to the Belgian Mediathèque, which for a fairly modest price, allows you to take plenty of chances trying out some rather obscure stuff without having really had much info about the given "artistes". And on goes the surprises (good or bad) in the discovery path to my musical nirvana. But once in a while, you fall on an absolutely atrocious album/group that dampens your spirit, because beyond the first two minutes of initial interest because of their unusual act, some groups go on with the sole idea for a whole album and more, which you'll agree is a little to few and the understatement of the decade when looking at such an album as this one. I dare not look at this group's full output, because no doubt this duo has been at it for a while, because this release comes with a DVD of their Japan tours. which Japan is probably one of the rare country on this planet where they could actually tour (this means playing more than two concert in the same week in different cities), because only a certain kind of Japan nihilist crowd (most of them are poseurs anyway) is able to sustain more than a few minutes of this extremely apocalyptic noise (it's hard to really call it something else, even if this is also music in some ways). We are not still in full Flying Luttenbachers territory, even if the guitar-drum duo is doing its best to be as obtuse as FL, but ultimately fall very short, but not for the sake of trying. Somehow these guys think of themselves as the new Damian Ché and Edwards- Doyle, but don't come to waist level of Don Caballero.

In either case, Hella is one twisted, deranged act, which inspires me only a vague puzzlement, that will probably never go beyond the question: who the hell would really want to own such an obtuse and nihilist drivel? Apart from wanting to give yourself a hardcore stance, and opting to for a voluntarily lonely life, accompanied no doubt by semi- lethal substances abuse, no-one in their right mind would actually play this past the two initial spins: the second to confirm you actually did not miss out on something the first time around. And once you got your confirmation, you'll close the case and think that maybe the insufferable Celine Dion has found somebody more annoying than her. I'm not saying that the duo are not good musicians, but sometimes (most of the time) their aural diarrhea is getting on one's nerves. For geeks and poseurs only, really!!!

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Thanks to Zac M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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