Album Review: Hacktivist - 'Outside The Box'

24 February 2016 | 11:28 am | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

Sweet baby Jesus, was this worth the wait!

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After what seems like an eternity, Hacktivist are finally giving the world their long-awaited debut album. Three years on from the release of their cracking titular EP, ‘Outside The Box’ is a slick, aggressive and sheer banger of a record, and one with a superb mix/production to boot. Featuring some of the heaviest bass lines and grooves this side of Meshuggah, the kind of riffs that After The Burial would have nasty wet dreams over, and with rhymes and lyrics so passionate and venomous they would make Kanye and Kendrick a little nervous; Hacktivist have seriously delivered on their debut album, and then some.

While this isn't too far removed from what their EP sounded like, there is some much welcomed diversity to the album (that also separates them from other bands, like say Devastator) with more melodic songs like 'Taken', 'The Storm' and 'The Storm II'. The opening track even features Marlon Hurley, the brother of co-vocalist Jermaine Hurley, who gives a great MC speech/poem about the fans' loyalty, as it ushers in the return of Hacktivist. Very cool, indeed.

The back and forth between vocalists Ben Marvin and Jermaine Hurley creates some truly great chemistry, and the various guest appearances littered throughout the album (like Heart Of A Coward's Jamie Graham and Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds, which is a fantastic moment in itself) enrich the record as a whole. Furthermore, guitarist and clean singer, Tim “Timfy” Beazley, doesn’t really overuse his singing like so many other bands do, and sure, that’s because they have three vocalists - that's enough as it. But even then, these songs could have turned out very differently and far more generic sounding. Thankfully, that's not the case.

In fact, for a 12-track album, this record has next to no filler. Each song feels necessary for the record's strength, even with having a non-heavy, dark, grimy rap song like ‘Rotten’ (a million times better than when Deez Nuts used to pull that shit); a new mixed version of ‘Elevate’; and even presenting a melodic instrumental track in the form of 'The Storm' - it's slightly different, but top-notch quality the whole way through.

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Big words, we know, but you must believe the hype on this one – it’s lit, as the kids say.

Of course, the nu-metal influence is still there in the rapping, the dual vocal styles and the huge grooves that follow, but we have always felt that the Hack-boys are more in touch with the hardcore/metalcore and progressive metal world more than anything else. It was that perfectly executed amalgamation of said styles that helped make this band so interesting in the first place. Now in 2016, that hasn’t changed one bit as they're still just as engaging and interesting, and this record is just off the fucking chain.

Hacktivist really are the perfect combination of nu-metal, metalcore and prog-metal. If that’s not unique or, at the very least, interesting to you then we don’t know what to tell ya, honestly. Well, except for the fact that you'll be seriously missing out, but that's your loss. 'Outside The Box' is definitely going to be one of the better heavy records of 2016, and hopefully this is just the start of the H-lads conquering the world.

1. Our Time (feat. Marlon Hurley)

2. Hate

3. Deceive And Defy (feat. Jamie Graham)

4. Taken (feat. Rou Reynolds)

5. The Storm

6. No Way Back

7. False Idols

8. Rotten (feat. Astroid Boys & Jot Maxi)

9. Elevate

10. Outside The Box

11. Buszy

12. The Storm II