Review: Jeff Hughell - Chaos Labyrinth

Jeff Hughell plays a 7-string bass.Yes, you read that correctly.

As a guitar player who is still trying to figure out the six strings in front of me, I’m not only intimidated that such an instrument exists, but that there is someone who has been able to use it as effectively as Jeff Hughell does. The current bass player for Six Feet Under and Reciprocal released his second solo album, Chaos Labyrinth, this past April, which is a follow-up to 2009’s I Came To Hate.

Hughell’s work with bands like Feared, Brain Drill, Vile, Osium, Severed Savior, Asylum, Rings of Satum, and Cryptoreum have given him a solid reputation as a revered and sought after bassist for those that want the most badass of low-end bashers.

Let me begin by saying this: I am generally not a fan of instrumental bass/guitar-based music. I’m not ashamed to say that arena rock anthems have me singing along and head-banging in my car while I’m at a red light and that I'm a sucker for angst-filled lyrics. But the moment I found out that there is someone who plays a 7-string bass and they released an instrumental album, I was intrigued. When I saw him play the title track in this video below, I was left with my jaw on the ground and a glazed look in my eyes. Check it out and you’ll see why.

Upon first listen, I was impressed with the raw technical ability that Hughell displays on this album. There are some compositions that leave you wondering “Is that really being played on a BASS?!?!” Yes, indeed, it is, my friends. While there are some killer hard-hitting songs like the title track, and “Jagermeister Death Grind”, there are also some very haunting and melodic pieces such as “Still” and “Dreams of Chaos”. “Let it Go” leave you wondering why Disney didn’t use it in the film Frozen instead of the much-overplayed song of the same name. (Ed’s. Note: Yes I just mentioned Disney’s Frozen in my review of an album by a bassist who is best known for pretty dark metal music. Brilliant isn’t it? The kids will love it!) This is definitely not a “metal only” album, and that’s what makes it so very awesome.

While Jeff plays some incredible upper-register parts on many of of the songs, the low end definitely is the star of this record. There are also guest appearances by Ola Englund, Brian Wood, Alex Bent, Steve DiGiorgio, Sean Martinez, Alex Webster, Nick Avalonitas, Marc Gilson, Tyler Layne, Kevin Talley, Matt Sotelo, and Dan Gilson, and they compliment Hughell’s tremendously intricate work very well.

Overall, you owe it to yourself to check out a record that gives you a bit of speed, a pinch of danger, plenty of melody and heart, and an obvious amount of blood, sweat, and tears. If that’s not rock’n’roll I don’t know what is.

And guess what?!?!!? Jeff has been awesome enough to sign two copies of his CD and give them away to some lucky readers!  To enter the giveaway for the autographed copy of Chaos Labyrinth, share this article on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and include the hashtag #ChaosLabyrinth. We will choose a winner on May 31!

In the meantime, check Jeff out at his website, Facebook page, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Twitter.