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Album Reviews : Serious Beak – Huxwhukw

By on December 19, 2011

Do you remember the first time you heard porno-grind? Or dubstep? Or Mongolian throat singing? And your brain went “holy fuck what the fuck is this and how-slash-why does it exist”? Serious Beak are about to do it again, approximately three hundred and twelve times within the one album. Huxwhukw (pronounced “houk-whouk”) is a mind-melting concoction of prog quirkiness and unexpected left turns that somehow actually works.

Despite the acoustic nature of opener “Baxwbakwalanuksiwé” (pronounced “the one with the really long name”) and the first few minutes of “Han”, which are bound to trick you into a false sense of safety, Huxwhukw is a fairly aggressive beast. The Sydney-siders have that same air of complete insanity that bands like Dillinger Escape Plan do, but with slightly more room to breathe. Frantic, progtastic riffs and confusing-in-a-good-way drumming play games with little acoustic noodlings; there’s a touch of grind, a hint of funk, a sliver of country, a splashing of punk rock, and the list goes on. However, where some bands of a similar description end up with a series of erratic musical train wrecks that can be difficult to tell apart, Serious Beak have crafted ten completely individual songs that end up working together as an undeniably whole album.

“Swagger”, a five minute riff-attack with an extra injection of technicality, is followed by a mostly-acoustic two and a half minute track that’s focused more around atmosphere than actual music. While “Sporãs” is an explosion of schizophrenia, “Fljóta” is a minimalist piece with some sort of chanting and/or wailing, and “Han” is an eight minute track with a hint of Baroness to some of the guitar work. And in the end the fact that the tracks differ so much is quite handy, seeing as you’re certainly not going to remember the song titles.

Huxwhukw is one of the most intriguing instrumental releases to have been born in a long time. Despite the amount of influences and time-changes crammed in there, it remains catchy, and undeniably memorable. The somewhat thin sound can be a tad irritating at times, but it’s a small flaw that’s worth pushing aside to experience everything else. And to top it off, it’s packaged with some of the most stunning album artwork I’ve seen in quite a while. Serious Beak, you done good. 8.5/10

Band: Serious Beak
Album: Huxwhukw
Year: 2011
Genre: rad music
Origin: Sydney, Australia

Track listing:
1. Baxwbakwalanuksiwé
2. Han
3. Swagger
4. Gödel !Xun
5. Tuī / Tuō
6. Anhrefn
7. Sporãs
8. Lähendama
9. Fljóta
10. Taheu Nadryvy, Taheu!


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.