Album Review: Hurt – The Crux (Carved Records; 2012)

By Matthew Gillen

Since its release back in May 2012, HURT’s sixth studio album, The Crux, has received much critical acclaim on the progressive art-rock scene. Having suffered heavy line-up changes since their formation in 2000, The Crux welcomes new drummer Victor Ribas and graciously bids farewell to long time guitarist Paul Spatola.

Perhaps due to, rather than despite, these challenges – which include being dropped by the major record label, Capitol – The Crux is a declaration of artistic determination and independent production.

The Crux remains true to words of frontman, J. Loren Wince, who stated on the band’s Facebook page that “the new album would be a return to both the ‘Volume’ albums, in sound and style”.

HURT’s loyal fanbase, who often uphold Vol. II as the zenith of the band’s musical prowess

, have acknowledged the weight of the comparison, with latest single “How We End Up Alone” receiving a strong reception.

Other hard hitters such as “Numbers”, screams out to past tunes “Ten Ton Brick” and “Loded”. Loren’s voice melodically narrates the album’s dark themes on anxiety, transient life, self-value and emotional necessities. Such melancholic subject matters are encapsulated instrumentally by Ribas’ rhythmic snares, Mohr’s subtle bass lines and Spatola’s bluesy rock riffs, forming an harmonic ‘crux’ to support the pleading wails of Loren’s violin and his fluctuating string arrangements.

The range of instruments used produces a collective of voices, channelling their distress through Loren’s soulfully resonating lyrics. Building upon the foundation of raw emotion, HURT have crafted a record with intricate talent, enabling full empathy from the listener on tracks like “Caught In The Rain” and album opener; “So When”, akin to Vol. II’s “Talking to God” and “Thank You For Listening” respectively.

Boasting seamless transitions from slow tempos to sonic tempests, The Crux is an album that flows almost flawlessly for forty-three minutes.