There’s a suspicion around that djent, as a sound, seems to be going stale, thanks in part to a surplus of mediocre releases. So Hacktivist have done a spectacular job of injecting some much needed punch into their self-titled debut EP, playing with diversity of scales and tones and preventing the record from going on the beaten path of generic djentists.
The intro, called ‘New Age’, is a two-minute track with a ghoulish build-up. The vocals are crisp, and the breakdowns crunchy. The track maintains a pulsating tempo and the rhythm section remains tightly knit. The mid-section has a belter of a riff, making it a well-packaged introduction to an exciting album. ‘Unlike Us’ is probably the stand-out track on the record, with a mellow beginning and cleaner vocals to start off. It gushes into a series of high gain tones and intricate drum patterns. The intermittent softer parts are soothing and ominous precursors to the heavy guitar bits throughout the song.
The last two tracks on the EP are the eponymous ‘Hacktivist’ and ‘Cold Shoulders’. There is a distinct zing to the former, with stop-starts throughout the song and a melancholic background tune. The vocalist manages to tread that realm between screech and clean perfectly, and the guitar solo is an innovative blend of technique and vision, adding to the firepower of the song.
‘Cold Shoulders’ brings the EP to an apt close, with an uncanny intro, slowly building to a massive song; splendid rhythm, sublime guitar playing, the works. The bassist deserves special kudos for this track, maintaining a brilliant groove throughout.
Hacktivist aren’t a banal djent band that might genre hop in the next few months. They have built a unique brand of music, inspired by the likes Aliases, fell silent, but giving an individual spin to the tracks. It’s time to put this band on your radar and wait for a full-length with more panache and grit.
Hactivist EP is available for purchase and streaming at http://hacktivist.bandcamp.com/album/hacktivist-ep
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