The Hillary Step
The Hillary Step is the most dangerous point on Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. On the first recording of the Kansas City-based trio of the same name, the band succeeds in climbing away from the pack of bland, stagnant rockers by taking huge chances and succeeding in almost every aspect. Experimentation is a great thing for The Hillary Step. “No Good Reason,” a song that explores and straddles a line between comfortable predictability and sudden jerking changes, leaves the listener on his toes but without meandering or jostling into unnecessary territory. Singer/guitarist Brad Hodgson’s voice handles everything from quiet, almost whispering vocals (“Our ‘We’ Day”) to the gut-wrenching intro of “Damn the Luck,” riding beautifully and comfortably above every note on the disc, especially on the next-to-last track, “Kimmie Joe,” which soars with melody. The Hillary Step takes advantage of a studio environment without losing touch with a live feel, giving the whole album a cohesive, atmospheric feel while producing nine songs of beautiful variance. The Hillary Step balances beautifully a heaviness and an atmospheric nature to its music, never falling into the traps of mindless metal riffdom or pointless noodling.