Very few groups have the ability to pull off instrumentals as abstract, as unforgettably chaotic, or as decidedly original as does Hella. The spazz-core style contained within the nine tracks of Hold Your Horse Is is a beauty to behold, yet is certainly not for the meek or close-minded. It should be known that these nine songs are purely instrumentals, that no vocalization is needed, and that no matter what you have heard before, Hella is bound to make an impression you won't soon forget. The enjoyable cataclysm of sound seems to come from a whole orchestra of musicians, yet this wild album was in fact created by only two people, Spencer Selm and Zach Hill. Drawing on classic rock, jazz, electronica, and hundreds of other influences that would take too long to list, Hella has perhaps outdone itself, as Hold Your Horse Is happens to be an album there simply could never be a sequel to. Those familiar with the progressive rock group Dredg may enjoy the hectic sonatas conjured up by Hella, as it is certainly an artistic vision that launches this duo's creative force to weave such intricate, spastic tunes. One of the most intriguing things about this album is that, if you strip away most of it and just listen to the core guitar/drum combination, each song is a solid tune, complete with direction and melody. The way Hill and Selm conceal detailed avant-garde musical emotion beneath a churning veil of noise could be considered brilliant. Unfortunately, this also could be deemed nothing more than two individuals tinkering with their instruments and calling the mangled mess of sound music. Those who think that way should avoid Hella, but those listeners who are a bit more adventurous and interested in hearing a group that is deftly original and remarkably skilled should check out Hold Your Horse Is.
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AllMusic Review by Jason D. Taylor