Maybe it was inevitable that a band would come along that would fuse together art-metal, grunge, nu-metal, prog rock and emo -- after all, the fusion seems both logical and appealing, doesn't it? -- but Hurt's 2006 debut Vol. 1 nevertheless seems to come out of left field. It's not only the kind of album whose title feels sadly truncated -- it's just begging for more information either before or after the Vol. 1 -- but it feels like it exists in an alternate universe, one where all the familiar elements are combined in ways that are familiar, yet undeniably off, even if they fall short of being outright odd or strange. Instead, Hurt and Vol. 1 merely sound a bit peculiar with their gothic, confessional soul-searching. Each song ebbs and flows on waves of flattened, heavy guitars, acoustic strums, and symphonic samples, which carry whispered vocals, guttural screams, and minor-fifth harmonies to the forefront, then gently ease them back again. Even the shorter songs play like multi-segmented mini-suites, which is another way of saying there are few immediate hooks, and the song structures are more elusive than difficult. With their definite, defiantly arty flourishes in their production and lyrics -- not to mention their penchant for one-word song titles (seven of the 11 tunes here are a mere one word) -- they clearly would like to emulate Tool, but they lack the tightly-wound, precise arrangements, not to mention a sense of danger or strangeness. Instead, Hurt can come across as an emo-ized Days of the New with their earnest ambition -- they may try more than Travis Meeks' forgotten band, but they have a similar vibe. But where Days of the New hit a dead-end immediately, Vol. 1 suggests that Hurt could go many different places, if they choose to amp up either the artsiness or the heaviness. Right now, they're straddling both worlds -- and the results are intriguing, but they're not quite satisfying.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine