Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 22/2
Outside The Box
Written by: PP on 13/02/2017 20:11:50
Had djent been a thing at the time of Linkin Park writing "Hybrid Theory", there's a good chance it would've sounded like UK's Hacktivist and their debut album "Outside The Box". Featuring high-density skull-crushing heaviness contrasted by hip hop and grime passages alongside a few scattered post-hardcore influences, the record really sounds like something teleported out of 2001 that modernized overnight from the riffs perspective. Think technical djent in the vein of Novelists, Intervals, or indeed Heart Of A Coward whose members read among the Hacktivist lineup, or something more electronic like The Algorithm. To then state in the next sentence that they also kinda sound like P.O.D's old stuff except heavier, well, you'll be forgiven to think that it sounds pretty weird on paper.
Except it doesn't in practice. With most of the grime influence of their EP all but removed, the record primarily sounds like the second coming of nu-metal in a more compressed and polished format. By compressed I refer to the production, which is typically djent in that all guitars have been intentionally tightened to create that menacing oomph during the grooves, and by polished I mean the high budget Rise Records backed mastering that gives the record its crystal clear, crisp production.
On the EP, the hip-hop passages stood out because they felt so misplaced, but listening to a track like "No Way Back" you are presented a direct throwback to Linkin Park minus the DJ scratching. But perhaps the band wanted to go into a more metallic direction on "Outside The Box" in general? It certainly sounds like it based on the djent worship on offer here. Fans of bands like Volumes, Monuments, or even Vildhjarta will find plenty to like here. "Taken", for instance, is infectiously catchy thanks to its semi-clean choruses. "Hate" combines the hip hop brilliantly with the crushingly heavy djent riffs, and "False Idol" goes all in on post-hardcore during its chorus.
So what does that leave as an end result? A surprisingly convincing djent record, actually. The songs are well-composed and aggression-laden, allowing the passion to sparkle through the otherwise immutable wall of shattering riffs. Best of all? It doesn't sound trendy in the least, despite toying with a combination that usually would reek of all the wrong things. Instead, you get a solid record that puts together the band's passion for two things: hip-hop and metal.
Download: Taken, Hate, Deceive And Defy, Rotten
For the fans of: (old) Linkin Park, Heart Of A Coward, The Algorithm, Novelists, (old) P.O.D,
Release date 04.03.2016
UNFD Records / Rise Records