Monday, 16 May 2016

Hacktivist "Outside The Box" (2016)

The letter H has been carved in the corner of my mind according to the narrated mission statement on the opening track of this groups debut full length. Hacktivist are an English experimental group fusing together the bipolar styles of Djent and Grime with a flavor more accessible to fans of Metal than London's form of urban Hip Hop. I remember when the group formed three years ago, there was a wave of hype and despite quite a wait for this record the band have delivered on there promise. The name "Hacktivist" is a relevant and recognized term in this internet era society, a fusion of hacking and activism to represent independent online activism. With this the band take on a revolutionary persona of social and systematic consciousness to spread a message of anti capitalist, anti commercial action and awareness but as A.C. once said, "Music ain't the revolution, its only the soundtrack".

Starting off with "Our Time" Hacktivist set a strong tone for the record which never falters from its path of conscientious lyrics and stating their presence in the music scene. Rappers Hurley and Marvin come loaded with fast and sturdy flows, hitting their lines and rhymes over the top of crunchy, rhythmic Djent riffs. Its effortless on the listeners end, their tones and delivery works well with chunky grooves rattling away and waves of colorful shimmering guitars in between their raps. Marvin crosses from rap into shouted screams and guitarist Beazley drops in the harmonious clean vocals to offer three vocal dimensions that keep things fresh and varied across the forty minutes. On occasions the clean style sounds familiar to Enter Shikari, however these lads are from Hertfordshire too and the one song that sticks out actually features Rou Reynolds himself, which explains a lot.

With the versatility to sway from slamming Djent riffs into reverb heavy acoustics the instrumentals keep a lightness about them with subtle Post-Metal leads creeping into the background creating a spacious atmosphere for everything to fit together within. As with the vocals this dynamic expansion flows through the record to give each track its purpose and identity. There are moments where the raps are not present and other where the instrumentals take on a subdued approach to let the Grime raps shine. They are blunt and bold, no creative wordplay but more so straightforward expression and to the point message making that asks little of the listener. My only qualm may be with Hurley's breath control, leaving huge inhaling gulps in between each line, at the same time it adds an authenticity in favor of its removal through studio edits.

Outside the box is a solid debut, no weak moments or lulls, forty minutes of music that's not demanding. Fantastic production value with a great cohesion between the vocal and instrumental elements that could easily find themselves on different wavelengths but Hacktivist get all aspects right and are set to have a promising future if they develop as musicians. Entertaining record!

Rating: 7/10

1 comment:

  1. On Outside the Box, Hacktivist have shown themselves to be the kind of band that only comes along once in a blue moon. Right now, there isn’t a group out there who sound quite like them. Ben Marvin and Jermaine Hurley are two co-frontmen with a strong message which people ought to hear as soon as possible, because a band as socially aware and mentally conscious as Hacktivist doesn’t come round that often.