Convention defying djent metal rappers Hacktivist do not seem like a band who have been around long enough to distribute a re-issue.
Here though, is proof I’m wrong, but do four extra tracks make it a worthy release?
Much, of course, will depend on whether you bought the thing the first time round. There is also, these days, the option of picking up the extra tracks via iTunes if you really want them. If though, like me, you like to have a physical copy of your music after parting with all your hard earned cash it’s a case of all or nothing. Very much the golden boys of the crossover scene right now, Hacktivist have gained an enviable reputation as a great live act but their speedy rise to notoriety has left them with little to offer in terms of saleable music. It takes time to put an album together (one is scheduled for 2014) so this reissue should be viewed as a stop gap more than anything.
The five original songs showed the world that yet another way of combining the various rock sub-genres had been found that actually worked. I sometimes think that there’s a secret lab tucked away where musicians in white coats experiment with these things. I can only imagine what some of the failures sound like – Coldplay I expect. In this case however, the boys from that bedrock of musical boundary-shoving Milton Keynes have come up with something with enough melody and bounce to get you dancing, yet enough aggression to please those that can’t (we call these people moshers).
Being able to please both groups is what led to the carnage in the third stage tent at Download earlier this year, where the band were one of the notable hits of the festival.
Even then, you felt the set being stretched to fit the paucity of material. Those original five songs do show a willingness to embrace variation though, with Cold Shoulders sounding like Linkin Park chopped up and laid to rest on a bed of djent chord hopping. Meanwhile Unlike Us could well be what a collaboration between Trivium and Dizzee Rascal would sound like. Strange as it may sound it works too – spectacularly well, in fact.
The four additions are in reality one new song, a remix of the same, a further remix (Unlike Us) and a live version of Blades. In short, a hotch potch of the good, the very good and the ugly. The brand new Elevate is a crisp, clean hardcore infused little devil that makes up for the lack of jumpability with hard hitting vocals. Its remixed twin sounds like it’s been fed through a sound blender which muffles the clean lines of the original. The refreshed Unlike Us comes across as being slightly stoned, a chill out after party mix complete with dreads and a coloured woolly hat. Sadly, the live recording is one to pass on. It gives the impression of being an afterthought and gives no hint at how good these guys are live.
So do you buy this re-issue?
My advice is that if you already have the original, then give the new tracks a listen and get them digitally if you like what you hear. If you never got round to buying the EP and you even remotely like this kind of music then this is well worth buying.
A great release which has only been improved by most of the extras.
What I, and many, cannot wait for is a completely new album next year. In the meantime, this will have to do. Lets hope that wait is worth the promise.