Written by: PP on 13/01/2018 14:11:49

"RARE" is one of the instances where a band should've done the right thing and start from scratch with a new name altogether before releasing a new album. If you're coming into the fourth Hundredth album expecting piercing melodic hardcore with lingering melodies The Ghost Inside style just like their first three albums, well, let's just say you're in for a shock of a lifetime. With just about as dramatic of a genre shift as is possible, Hundredth dives head first into alternative rock-fueled shoegaze similar to contemporaries like Title Fight, Nothing, Balance And Composure and even Citizen on their latest album. No breakdowns, no heavy guitars, no screaming whatsoever, all replaced by soothing croons that echo around the soundscape and expansive atmospherics that radically expand the size of Hundredth's expression. Granted, the saturation in melodic hardcore is real and based on the two EPs, it was questionable whether they'd be able to release another record that wouldn't sound stale if they didn't change the course.

So with that out of the way, is "RARE" any good? Surprisingly, the band delivers a record on par with the best bands in the post-hardcore influenced shoegaze world with next to no experience in the genre from beforehand. "Hole", for instance", is an astonishing piece of chilling shoegaze that adds a twist to the genre by having a heavy edge to the guitars. But "Disarray" is where Hundredth truly shine. It's an uptempo piece drenched in shoegaze dreaminess, but one where the hummable chorus is infectiously catchy and the shredded guitars add a layer of heaviness that's unusual for the genre. Equally impressive is Chad Johnson's transition from coarse, but melodic screams into a soothing, faded-back style of clean vocals that lingers and floats effortlessly across the light and lush atmosphere. Together with the instrumentals, his approach forges a depth-laden expression that requires a multitude of listens to fully absorb, but one that rewards the listener with longevity and replay value far beyond many of their peers.

If there's one critique of "RARE" to air, it's that it isn't exactly a new sound. The first time I put the record on a few months ago I was sure I had accidentally popped in a record by Balance And Composure or maybe Nothing's first record, both bands that play exactly the same style of music as Hundredth display here. That said, the shoegaze-flavored alternative rock scene isn't yet as saturated as melodic hardcore, so "RARE" comes across as a captivating record that shows mastery of both genres, evident in tracks like "White Squall", "Chandelier", "Vertigo" or any of the others already mentioned in this review. As long as you're able to overcome their radical departure in sound and pay close attention to its sound, "RARE" is a solid addition to your record collection right by records by Title Fight's "Hyperview" and Basement's "Promise Everything".


Download: Disarray, Hole, Vertigo, White Squall, Chandelier
For the fans of: Citizen, Balance And Composure, Nothing, Title Fight, Basement
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.06.2017
Hopeless Records

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