(TheMadIsraeli has some thoughts to share about the debut EP by the UK’s Hacktivist, which will be out on Nov 12 and is up on iTunes for pre-order now.)
Alright sons, it’s time for some real talk here. If you don’t like this band, at least be able to give me an academically informed reason as to why their music sucks, because if all you have to say is “it has rap in it not kvlt,” I really don’t have an interest in hearing it.
Hacktivist are bringing something new and interesting to the table by combining two things that, quite frankly, were always begging to be combined: rap and djent. We’ve had a shitton of discourse in the metal sphere about whether or not djent is just the more legit, more intelligent form of nu metal, and I think Hacktivist’s self titled EP is the closing case on the matter. It’s here where we see the two styles melded together so well that it’s amazing it wasn’t done sooner.
I’ve always had the confidence that rap and metal COULD work together. Rage Against The Machine is a dear favorite band of mine, and while nu metal mostly sucked, I did enjoy the angst and energy a lot of it had. Hacktivist take these elements and combine them with modern groove metal into a package that I think works, and works superbly well.
The odd thing is, I really don’t know how much more of a review I can write about this. It’s rap djent, and the divide on whether it’s good or not is pretty obvious. I figure there is only one answer about whether this band deserves your time and money, and that is if you dig what they are doing. I do. I think they do it exceptionally well. I think Timfy James and Co. know how to write some beastly ass grooves while J Hurley and Ben Marvin (regardless of how you feel about their lyrics) have an intensity that you can feed off of in their delivery. These are quite capable musicians, and I find the prospect exciting of what they will do as they go on.
I mean, I suppose some people just can’t appreciate new and interesting shit. I’m a man whose favorite albums are things like Pestilence’s Testimony of the Ancients, and yet I dig the fuck out of this band. I don’t see how anyone can deny the booming low-tuned droning riffs, the fast-paced vocal attack, or the downright infectious grooves going on here (as in the song “Hacktivist”) — though some obviously do, based on the commentary our past Hacktivist posts have provoked.
My personal favorite track on this album, “Blades”, I think is a good example of this band’s talent, combining their rap djent stylings with doom metal in a way that’s fascinating. I think Hacktivist are the future for djent, and I foresee boring copycats by the hundreds coming in the near-term. But these dudes are not boring — they’re onto something.
With all that said, maybe I could produce a more elaborate review of this fucker now, but I don’t think I’m going to. I’m just going to let the music speak for itself, and you’ll either get into it or not. I have: This band have my backing and endorsement 100%.
So, this finally happened. 😀
“If you don’t like this band, at least be able to give me an academically informed reason as to why their music sucks, because if all you have to say is “it has rap in it not kvlt,” I really don’t have an interest in hearing it.”
I dislike this band because they combine marginally decent rap with wholly unoriginal djent to create something that manages to simultaneously sound unlike anything else out there and yet, entirely generic. This is essentially Shuvel with run-of-the-mill djent riffing instead of run-of-the-mill nu metal riffing. It also lends further credence to the theory at djent is the new nu metal.
If you were to split the two, you would have a possibly decent rap act (depending on the backing music) and a djent band that would barely be a blip on Got-Djent’s radar. Combine the two, and the result is a mess.
(Yes, I owned Shuvel’s CD at some point. I may still have it somewhere. I regret nothing.)
“I dislike this band because they combine marginally decent rap with wholly unoriginal djent to create something that manages to simultaneously sound unlike anything else out there and yet, entirely generic.”
One agrees. But, One will probably have a listen anyway.
I’ve only listened to a couple Hacktivist tracks. I feel like djent rap could be really cool. But in the tracks by this band I’ve heard, the djent part wasn’t that good and the rap part REALLY was not good. I’m not against the idea, just the boring execution.
…because it takes djent. A genre that defines pretty much everything I dislike in metal (over produced, technical, extremely noodley) and combines it with rap. A style of music that I have no interest in or affinity for (people are free to like rap, but it does nothing for me personally).
Theyve basically created a perfect storm of styles guaranteed to send me running in the opposite direction
Rap and Djent is a cool idea, but like others I feel Hacktivist’s execution is lacking. Mediocre djent + mediocre rap does not a great album make. It just makes a mediocre album… albeit an original sounding mediocre album.
Good work for reviewing this one MadIsraeli. I liked ‘Cold Shoulders’ but wondered if they could keep it interesting across a whole album. Guess I’m gonna have to pick up a copy now and find out.
Disclaimer: I don’t hate Hacktivist, but it’s not something I’d listen to a lot. That said…
I appreciate your stand against “it’s not kvlt so it sucks,” but this line rankled: “I mean, I suppose some people just can’t appreciate new and interesting shit.” That’s dangerously close to the old chestnut, “If you don’t like it, that means you just don’t UNDERSTAND it, man!” (See, for example, all Die Antwoord fans in response to any critique of their beloved.)
I’d also argue that rap/rock/metal hybrids are far from new and interesting at this point, even if they move on to newer trends in those respective genres. After all, we had Aerosmith/Run DMC and Public Enemy/Anthrax many, many moons ago. Updating the old school riffs with 8-string chugga-chugga does not a revolution make.
I think the problem with metal/rap hybrid is that it’s just that–a hybrid. A true blending of styles shouldn’t sound like I accidentally opened two YouTube videos at the same time. I think Hacktivist has done better than most, especially since they seem to be making a real go of it instead of just being a novelty/one-off project, but I’ve yet to hear someone do this in a way that sounds like a legitimate blending. Just my two cents.
Meshugga’s New Millenium Cyanide Christ feels like a blend of metal and hip-hop, except there’s no rap.
Love the Shuvel reference. I fully agree and on a side note, I saw Shuval play in an airplane hanger with Soulfly 11 years ago.
Wow, rap metal reviews.. I don’t see why an explanation is needed for why this sucks.