I’ve been a fan of Hurt since I saw them open for Seether, Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace (and yes, that was an awesome concert). I wasn’t entirely sold on their music (not that it was bad, I was just trying to remain objective), but when singer J Loren Wince pulled out a violin and started playing the intro to “Danse Russe” I had to admit that they definitely had a nice style about them.
It’s been years since that concert and a lot has changed: the only original member who’s still in the band is J Loren Wince, singer, songwriter, violinist, and occasional guitarist. Now finishing out the band is Rek Mohr (bass), Michael Roberts (originally a touring guitarist, but traded up to full time before the release of The Crux) and Victor Ribas (drums). I was worried that changing most of the members around before the release of this album (Mohr is the only current member to have played on another album) would negatively influence it, but I was willing to give this album a shot.
The album opens up with “So When”, a scathing track that uses one of my favorite studio techniques: a person singing the melody while they scream the lyrics underneath it. Wince’s yell in this one sounds like the force is ripping the teeth right out of his head, and just adds more power to the lyrics. I’ve got a couple favorites on this album, but I like “Links and Waves” because, in a minute and a quarter, it packs a massive punch as Wince sings “What’s yours is mine / My life is yours cos you are / Mine”.
I love “Adonai”, a six minute epic packed with everything from a wonderful guitar solo by Roberts and an amazing violin solo by Wince. “How We End Up Alone” is nice because it breaks out of the verse-chorus-verse-chorus style and shows Roberts flexing his muscles again, which he does a lot on this album. It’s nice to see more solos on the album, especially when they are as nice as they are. “Numbers” is obvious single material, complete with a great drum track courtesy of Ribas. The album ends with the wonderfully emotional “The Seer”, which just makes the album as amazing as it is.
I only have one complaint about this album. One, while Wince is a great lyricist all around, he doesn’t bring anything he hasn’t covered on previous albums. “Adonai” wrestles with the existence of God like he’s argued about on so many previous songs (“Talking to God” from Vol II and “Rapture” from Vol 1), “Sally Slips” deals with the dangers of becoming a heavy drug user like “Loded” (from Vol II) and “Pills” (from Goodbye to the Machine) and “Pills” does it so much better (“Sally Slips” is honestly the weakest track on the album, with a strange chorus of “If it looks just like it / Smells just like it / Tastes just like it” etc). “The Seer” deals with suicide much like “Well” from Goodbye to the Machine. I know that writing about what you know is a smart idea for writers, but there’s going to be a point when Wince has covered the subject so much that it just becomes old and tiresome.
Regardless, the album is definitely worth checking out, and in the end, I give Hurt’s The Crux FOUR out of FIVE STARS.
Avoid Like the Plague: “Sally Slips”