Nov 132012

(In this post, long-time reader and previous guest contributor VyceVictus provides his take on the debut EP by Hacktivist, which is now up on Bandcamp.)

After much anticipation and consternation, Hacktivist have finally dropped their debut EP. I had a rough outline for my guest review of the new record in the works, but after seeing TheMadIsraeli’s wonderfully astute and concise evaluation of the matter, I concluded there really isnt much more to deliberate. You either like the sound or you don’t. Even so, Hacktivist hit me hard and left me with a couple lingering ideas that I think are worth addressing.

I indicated once before how I am a lifelong supporter of “Real” Rap Metal, so I was pleased to see a modern band approach the idea with sincerety and fresh elements. The lyrics aren’t necessarily gonna set the streets on fire or anything, but the ideas seem thought out and the dual vocal attack delivery is tight and flows well.

The grooves are indeed immense and immediate, the licks are quick, and the djently djenting djent of the guitar attack djentrify the songs codjently and concisely. Djent. I am not a musician or professional critic. That word means nothing to me, but it sure does seem to grind peoples’ anuses the wrong way (is there a right way to grind anuses?). All I know for sure is that the guitar structures are pretty sick and make me bang my head.

The one thing in particular that caught me off guard is that as these guys are from the UK; their accent is prominent. Frankly, rap with “foreign” accents has always sounded weird to me. It reminded me of the first time I heard Dizee Rascall and found him so offputting, but eventually got used to it since he goes pretty hard. In that regard, Hacktivist are elevated beyond simply rap metal or djent; in my mind they are in the special category of “world/foreign extreme music”, where bands incorporate different cultural elements into metal. A good number of these bands get featured at NCS: Kartikeya, D-Fe, and the gamut of Middle-Eastern artists featured in the METALITY compilation to name a few.

The UK aspect also reminds me of another unique band whose signature sound is the blending of various disparate sounds. Skindred play a form of Reggae-punk-metal the likes of which no one else can really lay claim to. Though it may be premature to compare Hacktivist to such an A-Grade band, I believe that the sonic niche that Hacktivist are carving out for themselves is definitely in the same spirit.

I don’t believe this will be the impetus for a new novelty sub-genre. We spoke in depth on the pros and cons of sub-genre classifications not long ago, and while I think classification has its merits, I refer to music by its creators, not some restrictive label. Do bands like Mastodon, Gojira, Rage Against the Machine, Muse, or Death Grips really fit into a genre or are they genres unto themselves? No one else out there is like Hacktivist. Perhaps you think Rap-Djent is a novelty, but these guys are definitely no joke.  Besides, at least they aren’t…..this…..:



  1. This seems less like a second opinion… and more like, well, the same opinion really.

    • Yeah, misleading title. Was looking forward to a good ol’ fashioned anus grind and I got lollipops instead.

    • A very fair point. Although, based on my previous comments I figured everyone knew where I was going. I was thinking long and hard about this record and what this band represents. I considered addressing themes ranging from hypocrisy to elitism to racism, but I felt it would do no good to make an incendiary essay just for the sake of controversy and site hits. I just appreciate the opportunity our esteemed chairman gave me (and all I’d us) to say my piece.

      • Weird, for some reason I hadn’t thought about there being a racist component.

        • I was very reluctant to bring it up. It’s more a feeling than any academic proof, but the “metal community’s” reaction to Hacktivist and the “you don’t belong here” attitude resonates very deeply with me being a black guy who loves extreme music. The fact that this band pisses off so many people is more metal to me than any skinny crustie in face paint could ever be.

          • Or maybe a lot of metalheads just really don’t like rap or djent, and the combination of both just sounds like a terrible idea to them. I’m not sure race has anything to do with it. Maybe in some very extreme fringe circles, but not the community at large.

            I for one can say that while I occasionally enjoy some rap, I don’t really like djent at all. The Hacktivist combo of the two is like nails on a blackboard to my ears. On top of that, on paper it sounds like a moneygrab. This is all my opinion of course and fans of Hacktivist should really pay me no attention. Don’t let the opinions of others get to you or influence your like/dislike of a band. Just listen to what you enjoy and who cares if people get buttmad on the internet.

    • When you go to a doctor for a second opinion, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be different from the first one, does it? Also, this is, literally, a second opinion.

  2. And more rap metal reviews. I guess next will be a lengthy discussion on the new Deftones album, followed by a few articles on how great Sevendust is, and some crying about how Faith No More are “So Underrated”.

  3. Dizzie Rascal!!! I really liked his first album when it came out. I haven’t listened to it for a while, but his voice is certainly very distinct. I also adore the Streets, so there’s something to British rap that appeals to me.

    I don’t DISLIKE these guys. And, I mean, they’re doing what they’re doing how they mean to be doing it. It’s not like they’re incompetent. But it’s just not quite working for me, I guess. I can see how it might grow on me though…I like their use of melody when they get going hard.

    But, yeah, this whole hating rap thing is both trite and usually quite racist. It’s fine if you don’t like rap/hip-hop, but the fact that it’s THE genre that people really fixate on (and then pull out the most racist stereotypes about) is both depressing and quite telling.

    If nothing else, I’m happy we got a VynceVictus write up! Looking forward to more!!!

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