Saturday, 5 March 2016

Hacktivist: 'Outside The Box' Album Review

Supported Korn, main-staged Reading and Leeds festivals, played Sonisphere, played Rock IM Park/Rock AM Ring and all off the back of one EP? You could say that Milton Keynes hip hop/metal quintet Hacktivist have achieved more from one set of songs than most bands have achieved from 2 full records.

Despite incredibly high anticipation for Hacktivist’s debut record ‘Outside The Box’ there has remained the slightest droplet of anxiety; could the five-piece take their raw, powerful intensity and make it last for 12 songs? It turns out, yes.

Diversity and unpredictability have both been strong components of Hacktivist’s rigorous sound from the get-go but seem particularly apparent on this record. Songs such as ‘Rotten’ feature a hip-hop/grime-filled mix while ‘No Way Back’ is an out and out metal slog. This isn’t Hacktivist catering to all audiences, this is the band simply being themselves.

‘Deceive and Defy’ and ‘Taken’ which feature Jamie Graham (Heart of a Coward) and Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari) respectively, are both clear leaps forward from the band in terms of pure musicianship. More than just well executed rapping over finely tuned riffs, this is commanding stomps to the eardrums that bring with them chunky choruses and razor sharp riffs.

Despite the high profile features however, it is actually the songs that Hacktivist tackle themselves where they shine brightest. ‘False Idols’ is a good enough track to sum this band up in 3 minutes and 24 seconds. Unforgiving. Aggressive, and down-right nasty. Despite being out for a while, the song is still the bands staple and excels both musically and lyrically.

It is vocally that Hacktivist are continuously praised, and rightfully so; J Hurley, Ben Marvin and Timfy James all bring a unique attitude to the band that really cannot be found anywhere else in the genre. It is album title song ‘Outside The Box’ though that really stands out as the records beaming light, and is the result of a truly titan sized musical ambush thanks to Timfy James, Josh Gurner on bass and Rich Hawking on drums. The huge anthemic riffs are the kind that wouldn’t sound out of place in any arena, for any rock/metal band and in itself is a huge achievement for the five-piece.

Hacktivist have been ascending the metal ranks for quite some time now, but without a full release have never had something to start from that could make them a real force. ‘Outside The Box’ turns some good rappers and musicians into a band. Hacktivist is a movement, and you should climb on board.

FFO: Enter Shikari, The One Hundred, Astroid Boys

Facebook: /Hacktivistband
Twitter: @HacktivistUK

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