Jan 282012

(TheMadIsraeli returns with another quick heads-up about . . . something different from an English band called Hacktivist.)

I am either about to be extremely surprised or lose all metal credibility in front of all of you.

Rewind to the 90’s and early, early 2000’s.

I know, I know. You wonder to yourself why do I assail you with such trauma? Why have I caused your soul such ache? Why doth I penetrate thy conscience with such unfathomable knives of contempt!?

Like a lot of metalheads in my age range (18-23, or thereabout), I started at nu metal. Yes, in hindsight the music for the most part sucked. No matter how many times you go back in retrospect, you can’t justify 90% of the shit that went on. Yeah, Korn was onto something, maybe, on their first two albums, and Wes Borland was the only talented member of Limp Bizkit, but overall nu metal was definitely a failed experiment as far as musical legitimacy goes, despite its staggering commercial success. HOWEVER…

I always felt rap could, AND DOES, have a place in metal. In my opinion, nu metal wasn’t a permanent testament to the failure of rap and metal mixing; it was too much a victim of commercialism and teenage angst to make a lasting mark. However, I think we can all agree that the only heavy band who incorporated rap and did it right, with intelligence and intricacy, was the mighty Rage Against The Machine (a band I still love to this day) — but maybe I’m about to be proven wrong. Maybe all of us are.

This is where Hacktivist comes in. I’ve been waiting for this to happen, and it finally has.

Rap djent.

I leave you only with the music to evaluate for yourselves, but in dong this I’m not afraid or ashamed. I’m digging the everloving fuck out of this. Is this the next big thing? In my honest estimation, probably.

87 Responses to “BANDS YOU NEED TO HEAR: HACKTIVIST”

  1. VyceVictus says:

    Hahahaha!!!
    I am legitimately feeling this song. BACKING HACKTIVIST..
    Also: “think we can all agree that the only heavy band who incorporated rap and did it right, with intelligence and intricacy, was the mighty Rage Against The Machine”…..
    Hardly: http://www.stuffyouwillhate.com/2011/10/lets-talk-about-real-rap-metal/

    • Islander says:

      Yeah, I discovered M.O.P. and Bionic Jive through that post of yours. Not household names, exactly, but they do bring it hard. And Skindred . . . like you say, maybe not precisely rap metal, but so damn good.

    • Islander says:

      Also, let me just say, being reminded by the photo of Ice-T and company at the top of your post . . .

      BODY COUNT!!!

      • VyceVictus says:

        Ha, that actually wasnt even my idea, but it evokes a response fitting of the topic.
        Regarding Hacktivis:, I think one of the things thats really clicking for me is the fact that it is a genuinely catchy well constructed song. I think the biggest criticsm of Djent is that its soul-less shreding and guitar wanker. Here though, each syllable and rhyme synch with the flighty of the gutair plucks and give it a bit of gravity; sort of like how in a parade float, you need many achor points to keep a helium balloon properly stable and guide it correctly. The combination suddenly makes this style of music….succinct. Pretty impressive I think.

        Even more interesting when contrasted to that Death Grips post the other day. There, the rapping combined evolves into somehting raucous and chaotic; It was like listening to a grindcore record.
        Who could have predicted such developments? Exciting times we are living in. Anyone who says theres no good or interesting music happening anymore needs to pull their heads out of their asses and take a listen.

  2. Islander says:

    My two cents: Don’t know if this style has a future, but it’s working for me now.

  3. Ben says:

    Hell no. I really hope that doesn’t become popular. Big poly-rhythms with some white guy rapping over it just doesn’t sound right, or good for that matter…imo

  4. TheMadIsraeli says:

    Waiting for the elitists to start piling in with the massive hate surge.

  5. SurgicalBrute says:

    NO!

  6. groverXIII says:

    Mediocre rap + bad djent = awful music. Seriously, this shit needs to go away. Even Busdriver or Aesop Rock couldn’t save this.

  7. BadWolf says:

    I seldom bring the hate, but as a fan of hip hop and metal, I think this is some false money-grabbing trendcore. Neither of those rappers are saying anything meaningful or using any creative poetic devices, and the djent behind them is so generic i’m faceplaming.

    The wolf disapproves.

    • TheMadIsraeli says:

      It’s okay when you do it Joseph, you’re the hipster after all =p

      Joking aside… I very much so disagree. There hasn’t been djent with this sense of cadence and funk before ever. Find me something similar within the next 4 hours and I’ll agree with you otherwise I don’t think so.

    • VyceVictus says:

      Hmm, I hear everything you are saying clearly.
      The only thing I can respond with is: I Am Moshing.
      And truth be told, I dont think these kids give a flying fuck about trending or poetry or saying anything meanigful. Looks like they have no other mission than to bring the slams for the children in the pit, and I cant possibly hate anyone for that. One could also argue that sub-genres like brutal death or stoner sludge are in their own rights derivative and only the really good bands stand out. I wont dare engage in a genre pissing contest though, because one can see the strengths in all of them easily enough.
      Hip Hop was born as party music, punk was all about minor variaitions of three chords not being played well. Even shit like this, as crazy/horrendous as it sounds to us old people, has just as much chance to grow as any other music style ever has.

      • BadWolf says:

        Hip hop as party music is a devy devisive statement. The origins of hip hop during the civil rights movement and the Harlem Rennaissansce were INTENSELY political, cultural, and sophisticated. While early hop hop groups like Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five PLAYED at block parties, their lyrics were quite intense! Even Run DMC had a strong ‘pull up the poor’ vibration going on!

        The term ‘rap’ as a genre began as a derivative term to differentiate acts like Public Enemy from, say, Lil Wayne. This is the difference between The Clash and, say, Nickelback.

        Or, to put it another way. Let’s say a hip hop artist decided to incorporate Metal elements (YAY!)

        Would you want them to use Slayer riffs? Or Disturbed riffs?

        Yeah, that’s what I thought. This is the latter of those two options.

  8. Froren says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever actually enjoyed rap in metal this heavy before. For Ever Forthright and Painted in Exile, it didn’t work for me at all, but that’s probably partially because I also prefer the underlying riffage and drums here as well. I can’t say I love it, but it works surprisingly well.

    I’m just not looking forward to the huge surge of horrible attempts by other bands to come.

  9. TheMadIsraeli says:

    Here are the lyrics to Cold Shoulders.

    “Theres a shining at the skyline and its twisting
    manifesting into something big
    you can try to hide but it won’t do a thing
    next level more than anything seen
    we take over your days over
    two blades on my cold shoulders
    contagious like a Trojan you’re frozen ice age
    these days are far from golden

    Volcanoes erupt from beneath
    as we stand here gritting our teeth
    a thousand years go by in a week
    as we lose the world to this piece by piece
    as thunder rips through the seams
    like a lightening strike
    you can never break free can’t leave
    like a government scheme
    your sucked in locked in
    without no key

    They ain’t got no patience
    bodies get left with bare lacerations
    you don’t wanna see their retaliation
    no explanation they start an invasion
    They’ve been incarcerated sedated
    their pupils dilated most hated
    for making you open your mind
    to what we’ve designed

    As nations divide
    you can’t test whats happening
    its more real than its ever been
    I’m looking from the other side

    Times are hard as nations divide
    gotta choose a path
    hold on hurricanes and shooting stars
    hope mother earth takes me with open arms
    I’m looking from the other side
    I’m nothing but an outcast
    hear the sounds from the blast
    catastrophic turn the amp up a couple notches
    put your hands up if you got this

    As nations divide
    you can’t test whats happening
    its more real than its ever been
    I’m looking from the other side
    this poison’s destiny
    the one thing that was meant to be

    Theres a shining at the skyline and its twisting
    manifesting into something big
    you can try to hide but it won’t do a thing
    next level more than anything seen
    we take over your days over
    two blades on my cold shoulders
    contagious like a Trojan you’re frozen ice age
    these days are far from golden

    As nations divide
    you can’t test whats happening
    its more real than its ever been
    I’m looking from the other side
    this poison’s destiny
    the one thing that was meant to be

    Walk this line

    So far from a day dream
    how can i choose when i can’t see
    you will never out last me
    I’m on top of this don’t put it past me
    lets wake to reality”

  10. Vinter says:

    post about carcass – no comments
    post about autopsy – no comments
    rap meets metal – over 9000

  11. Ben says:

    I think I get it now. It’s like when your really, really high and you think that a mustard-ham-ice cream burrito would be so damn tasty right now. Then you actually make said mustard-ham-ice cream burrito and realize you should have just stuck to Doritos.

    • VyceVictus says:

      I feel its more like a Peanut butter and banana sandwich. You’d think it wouldn’t work in principle, but it turns out better than expected.

  12. dominic says:

    My headphones just tried to strangulate me. Jesus Christ, this is what the Mayans meant.

  13. MannishBoy says:

    Sorry, I would have to disagree with the take on this band. I am however,(at times during the new song) reminded of Fear Factory’s Mechanize when I hear this guitarists tone and riffs. That is about the only nice thing I can say about this band.

  14. Jaimehere says:

    At first when I heard their self-titled song it made me cringe, I think I can appreciate them now, took some time though.

  15. kingben says:

    at least they got the “hack” part right.

  16. ibc99 says:

    I think this shit is cool. Metal is not an image. It may be for some of you but not me. Like it or not that’s your prerogative, but shut the fuck up about what is or isn’t metal, cause no one gives a fuck. Really. Artists don’t argue about that shit, they just make music. You don’t have to like it, that’s fine, but get off your fucking pedestals jesus

    • Wow. You have no idea of how much crap we shoot at each other do you? :P
      “…about what is or isn’t metal, cause no one gives a fuck.” There are quite a few people who do really.

      In any case, this wasn’t so much about the music being “not metal” as much as it was about the music being mediocre and unmemorable in comparison to other stuff we listen to.
      Of course, the album isn’t yet out. We’ll see…

  17. Andy Synn says:

    Hmmm, unfortunately I’m going to have to go with the negative-nancys on this one.

    It does seem to me another bit of supporting evidence that djent is the “new” nu-metal, as hackneyed as that phrase might sound.

    Although it does differ in that its original innovators (to perhaps misuse the word) had some aim at progress and creativity, it has to be said that the rapid slide into generic repetition, pop-djent covers of bad songs, and now the appearance of rap-djent does seem to echo the decline of nu-metal.

    It’s become a genre so easy to pick up and bash out without depth or thought and, due to its rather basic nature, one that easily accepts mediocre and pop influences. Essentially the formula is so basic that you can apply it to anything, hence “rap-djent” and “pop-djent”, etc.

    Sorry to be another negative voice, and I apologise to “Hackrivist” for my negativity, but the whole sound has just been so bastardised as to be ultimately rather hollow and lifeless.

    • VyceVictus says:

      ” the whole sound has just been so bastardised as to be ultimately rather hollow and lifeless”= every genre in the last 10 years thanks to the exponential proliferation of metal in the digital age.

      Its kinda funny how “basic” people consider Djent when its all about playing complex riffs. Then again, I totally get how it could also be called “just copy Meshuggah”. I could also say sludge= Doom+ Hardcore or “just copy crowbar”, and how many sludge bands are out playing now? I personally do not believe those descriptions whatsoever, but my point is any genre can be broken down to its basic elements and ridiculed ad infinum if one were so inclined.

      I’m actually not a serious fan of Djent nor Nu metal, but I absolutely refuse the inclination to dismiss a band who may be doing something interesting, incorportating known elements into something different, or simply just make a killer song just because they fall under a certain genre.

      • Andy Synn says:

        Honestly though, i think that if you look at the riffs they aren’t really “complex”, they just have pretensions to that.

        Semi-polyrhythms (mostly in 4/4) aside, a lot of it isn’t much more than big chords + twinkly.

        And just because you can say that about other sub-genres (I totally agree you can, just to a much lesser extent) doesn’t make it any less true for “djent”.

        I’m not angry at djent, I’m just disappointed in it. It promised so much, but ultimately delivers so little.

        • VyceVictus says:

          Ah, excellent point about the promise and payoff, probably the fairest assessment I’ve heard on that style of music.

  18. ElvisShotJFK says:

    Hmm…

    I couldn’t even allow myself to listen to more than a minute of the first Hacktivist song, but the second one was far better. I didn’t exactly like it, but I made it to the end.

    Djent and its bastard offspring are similar to nu-metal in that there’s some really good stuff and a lot of stuff that doesn’t really go anywhere with it. I agree with TMI about Korn being on to something in the beginning (although I am also quite fond of Untouchables, which I don’t think is typical of Korn) and about Limp Bizkit being a burden for Wes Borland. On the other hand, I’ve never really liked RATM much, although I did end up learning how to play “Killing In The Name”, but wasn’t able to play it live (the drummer had a hard time keeping up with me and the lead guitarist didn’t have a lot to work with). I would also add the likes of Linkin Park, Cold (first album only!) or Papa Roach (same) as some of the other decent stuff to come out of nu-metal, although they aren’t the only ones.

    Like its nu-metal cousin, I hope that there are more bands that explore their options instead of worshipping the fretboard of Thordendal and his peers. Seriously, how many bands that sound like Meshuggah or Periphery do you really need? There’s a reason why Tesseract has gained the kind of following they have; they haven’t forgotten to write songs. Same goes for Cloudkicker, Animals As Leaders or Om Mani. A lot of the rest of the stuff that gets called djent, I can pretty much tell what I’m about to hear, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when it’s not really interesting or gets predictable, it’s time to move on.

    So, to the other part mentioned within the comments, rap and metal can indeed mix, so there’s no reason to prepare the male sexual organ in the lower abdominal area. As with most anything else, there’s some good and a whole lotta bad. Timing and pacing are key and the two genres have different standards and to force one to work with the other isn’t going to work; you need to have something that can work with both, which the majority of existing songs aren’t.

    Now, to veer off a bit, lets look at Slayer, who have also dabbled in the forbidden arts. Tom Araya’s vocals are of a rap-like velocity, but most of their songs would suck with a rapper on the mic, just as a metal singer can butcher a decent rap song. Their deliveries are different. Maybe with some of today’s rap and hip-hop, the melding of genres might work. There’s a lot more actual singing and melody in some of the stuff i end up hearing and the music itself has come a long way and there’s stuff to be heard that’s more than canned beats and synthesizer laid on top. Like metal in general, the consistency and quality has impvoved. Hell, look at what metal had to offer in the 80′s as opposed to now; rap/hip-hop isn’t a lot different in that department.

    Unfortunately, I wish I could say the same for rock, pop or pop-rock. Hell, I think country music has declined even more. Granted, I don’t actively listen to this stuff, but I do end up hearing enough of it. Maybe if I took the time to find the good stuff, I’d actually find what’s worthwhile, but for the most part, the stuff that’s popular doesn’t sound very promising. True, that’s how it it with all music – most of the decent stuff gets pushed aside for something that’s easier to promote and make a buck off of, with a handful of good bands/artists somehow getting a bit of the attention they deserve.

    Now, to close this rambling post, I have one question to ask of Islander:

    Do you feel dirty now, having had to embed that LB video? Or hell, any LB video, for that matter.

    • One cringed a little at the mention of Om Mani… But, one does agree with you. With the variety in
      both the genres of late, somebody should be able to come up with fairly interesting and memorable rap-metal by experimentation with various ideas and tweaking(?).
      But, that begs the question of whether any artist(s) attempting such fusions are really exploring their options, or if they are even aware of their …options.
      ——-
      Better Nookie than Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle). Then again, better Counterfeit than Nookie, one thinks.

      • ElvisShotJFK says:

        Well, I know some don’t like the band (I listen to Apology quite a bit, myself), but I list them because they’ve done something with the tools at hand.

        Problem with the genre is that you can get away with being mediocre. If you have the sound, you can make it work. Thus, you have a handful of really good bands, a bunch of interchangable bands in the middle and some shitty bands on the other end of the spectrum. But looking at the technical side (since that’s a part of some djent), that would not work with the uptight older brother that is neoclassical (which has its share of crap as well, but not due to lack of talent or ambition) or its mutant half-brother that is technical death metal. With few exceptions, these forms of metal do not allow much room for half-assed attempts.

        • Cringed a little… They do make for an enjoyable listen. But, one wouldn’t want to listen to it as often as, say, anything by Megachurch.
          But, putting them down in a playlist along with CiLiCe and Hypno5e helps keep the mood for one.
          ——-
          “Problem with the genre is that you can get away with being mediocre. If you have the sound, you can make it work.” One never really thought about it like that. But, in hindsight, it is kinda obvious. Yes.

          Perhaps a comparison can be made between this and something Justin Gosnell mentioned in his column on Heavy Blog is Heavy:
          “Due to how easy it is to access free sites for bands/artists such as MySpace, Facebook, ReverbNation, Soundcloud, Soundclick, Purevolume, etc., the internet has provided an easy outlet for every shitty artist to post their horrendous recordings online for all the world to hear (and promptly vomit to). Prior to the internet you had to be pretty serious to get your music out there.”

          One thinks that this is true, although on a smaller scale, for the djent “scene”. With a decent PC (or even a fairly powerful netbook) and a Line6 POD UX2 (or something), any ass like oneself could start churning out stuff like this and dumping it on SoundCloud. [Not that one would preferentially dump djent onto SoundCloud...] It does require some amount of skill to get to a level where you can even be satisfied with your own work. But, that threshold is not very high, one thinks – like you said – as in the case of Neo-Classical Metal or Technical Death Metal.
          Perhaps there is also the factor of psychological payoff from owning superior recording equipment, amp modelers and the sexiest looking 8-string that barely even fits in the hand.

          That would be the shittiest of the shitty. The less shitty ones know about bands other than Periphery and Meshuggah. The mediocre ones also use truly complex melodies and true(?) poly-rhythms based on MATH! …or they have a fairly good gimmick that works for them. The good ones simply ooze groove and melody (without having to use keyboards) in varying consistencies.

  19. Booker says:

    Fuck I think this post has got the most comments of any article I’ve read on here!

    Re: Hactivist. You know, surprisingly I think I actually like this. The problem (I see at least) with almost all the rap/r’n'b crap that permeates every radio station and ‘club’ nowadays is the lack of ability to play an instrument (and the *cough* lack of talent *cough*). I’m sure one of the reasons Prodigy were so big was that during a show there’s actually guys on stage playing instruments rather than pushing buttons on a mixing machine. And so that’s one of the big differences that these guys will be able to work. Also, in this day and age of music oversaturation and copying it’s pretty unusual to find an original niche, and I think they’ve got it.

    I’m intrigued….

  20. Tremendous says:

    Yo…

    You gotta hear The Spindle Sect

    http://www.thespindlesect.com

  21. Caspa says:

    I really really really hope that no one tries to copy this because of all the hype.
    Hacktivist is great, let it be at that. If you are thinking about starting a project that sounds like Hacktivist, fuck off and forget it. Just… forget it.

  22. The A says:

    Hacktivist is great. Love their hybrid sound. The OP didn’t post their best stuff though. I like Cold Shoulders, but Unlike Us is a bit more in the pocket: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJrEBqTCK50

  23. THENEWAGE says:

    So I bet half you faggots are choking on your words after their EP dropped. Dead shits.

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