Hesperus is 5ive's first album in six years, but it finds the "instru-metal" duo more or less picking up where it left off with its first couple of albums. 5ive's approach is different from other heavy guitar-drum duos such as Orthrelm and the early Hella lineup. Whereas those groups achieved a full sound largely by playing a lot of notes, 5ive's songs are much more open-ended. Instead, their full sound comes from the huge guitar sound they achieve by running the same signal through what must be a mountain of different effects pedals (and at least two different amps, by the sound of it). The music on Hesperus seems to have been played mostly live, yet it often sounds like there are multiple guitars thanks to this elaborate setup as well as the guitarist's use of low open-string drones. The fuzz-tone sound on the guitar is especially remarkable, and the whole album is well-suited for headphone listening. Highlights include the opener, "Gulls," which showcases the above-mentioned fuzz-tone and droning guitar technique to fine effect. The slow-burning "News I" is another highlight, alternating between clean-toned sections and heavier, fuzzed-out parts. As with their earlier albums, there are moments where the band seems to veer into loose, undistinguished jamming, as heard here on "Polar 70," for example. On the other hand, 5ive's music has always been as much about pure sound as about any specific notes or beats. This album is by no means a shocking departure for them, but it's another solid album by a band with its own idiosyncratic take on the instrumental drone metal genre.
by William York