Hide - Interior Terror
May 29, 2021
Now on their third full-length outing, Chicago-based electronic duo HIDE once again tear up the rule book – continuously pushing the boundaries of conventional song structure and perception of music.

Ominously opening up the album with the title track, 'Interior Terror' is a continual loop of clickety-clack with subtle synth stabs glimmered in by Seth Sher to break up the maddening repetition. It serves as a hypnotic backdrop for vocalist Heather Gabel to leisurely wail in the foreground on experiences of dysphoria with the systemic oppression of contemporary gender identity.

'Nightmare' immediately interrupts your mesmeric state by sonically assaulting you with barrage of drum patterns in quick succession, likened to the decibels heavy machinery can only typically reach. As the words, “The pain is never-ending” are seared into your eardrums and your cerebrum, the track closes out with a brief moment to (almost) catch your breath over eerie and unvarying synth lines.

After a fleeting moment of fractured white noise, thumping bass kicks and a plethora of glass shattering samples begin on 'Price of Life', as it steadily pulsates as one of the most ordinarily structured and rhythmic songs on the entire record. A rest assured homecoming moment for long time fans of the duo's more danceable industrial techno/electronic body music-driven work.

At 5 minutes in length, 'Daddy Issues' is the longest track among the record and acts the absolute darkest moment on Interior Terror. An echoing and pulverising sub-bass scatters its way across the entirety of the track as it re-examines the protest letter written and read by Brock Turner's father to the judge conducting his son's rape trail. The audio excerpt appears modulated and contorted, reinforcing to the listener the evil in his despicable, guilt tripping plea. As the clip culminates to Turner's father describing his son's prosecution as “a steep price to pay for 20 seconds of action”, Sher soars in with a synth saw to completely decimate your clarity! As too does Gabel, once again repeating the words only this time with the tenor of consummate abhorrence of what in actuality is a brutal and sickening assault. The track is outright harrowing from beginning to end.

'Fear' powerfully tackles the acute inclination of a human and how humans obtain power through law enforcement only to berate, assault and murder others. “Fear is not respect” quotes Gabel, vilifying the deplorable attempts as a live drum kit is vigorously pounded, breathing its way into the fold. The following lyric-less track titled 'Choose Your Weapon' acts as an interlude from the lyrical calamity of the record, but also as a time to reflect on the unnecessary harshness of police brutality. The horror film score-esque soundscape created by electronic virtuoso Sher will chill to the core.

Similarly to 'Price of Life', 'Spit' again harkens back to the duo's earliest work of frenzied industrial-tinged techno music. 'Spit' arguably has the catchiest and most anthemic lyrics on the entire record, if such a thing can exist on a HIDE release. “Who's blood is this? Who's sweat is this? Who's tears are these? The water in your mouth, where did it come from?” Gabel monotonously hisses over the bass-heavy throbs and hydraulic steel press-quality metallic drums.

Next up is the lead single, 'Do Not Bow Down'. Featuring choppy, staccato synth jabs that act as drum and bass sequences close to the side of feverish choral passages, the track is easily one of the most unsettling and difficult to digest on the album due to its nonconformity to modern music time signature.

On 'Flag', you are once again thrashed by hammering repetitious drum cycles at breakneck tempo as well as dispersed but pinprick sharp sub-bass lows. Gabel's vocal delivery is aggressive and venomous.

The juxtaposing maniacal laughs on the 'Laff Track' are instantaneously exasperating on not only the ears but all senses of the body. It strikes mental gymnastics as you try to keep up with the overlapping, overbearing disjointed laughs of Gabel over the blood-curdling minimal bass arrangements in the background. It is not the least bit amusing despite its playful title. It is one of the most sinister cuts on the whole record.

Closing the album is the most threatening and heaviest of the entire bunch – 'This Blood'. Belligerent right out of the gate, the coupling of Sher's near-deafening and fragmented synth stabs alongside Gabel's warlike belt outs will clobber you into almost total disarray.

After its near-30 minute runtime, you've weathered the storm and made it through the anxiety-inducing, sheer intensity of HIDE's third full-length record. Appropriately-titled Interior Terror, you will gaze inward to comprehend Seth Sher's evocative, soul-stirring compositions and moreover to reflect the imperativeness of Heather Gabel's raw and provocative lyricism.

That being said, this is so much more than being as simple as a recording of splintered, disorienting sounds and disarming, thunderous vocals. It is a sensory excursion incomparable to anything else you will ever experience. It is the most demonic and most crucial release from the duo since their inception in 2014.

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