Mancunian metalcore quintet Hometruths have dropped their much anticipated, politically charged EP, ‘Open Your Eyes’. At just over a quarter-of-an-hour long, this thing rushes by like a protest past an office window, hoping to deliver a brief, effective, and cohesive political message to any bystanders who happen to be glancing out. It’s a great record, spilling over with talented fury and boatloads of rhythm, all recorded with a curious low-fi quality.
Thematically, ‘Open Your Eyes’ wins no points for originality. The lyrics are littered with simple soundbites, from “you must choose” in ‘Embers’ up until the last track, ‘Genocide’ (“this is a sacrifice”). The message is explicit; people are sheep, and must be shaken awake before… well, exactly what is never really made clear.
The trouble with this message is it relies on an audience (who are also the helpless subject of the songs) that doesn’t exist anymore, or is at least so shape-shifting and broad as to render itself completely ineffable even to veteran songwriters. Billy Bragg had but one machine to rage against, and he never had to argue with an egg on Twitter at the same time.
Rather than passive irradiation in front of a television, we’re now a generation of active participants in our own captivity, able to tailor-make experiences to our own selfish desires. No longer the humans-in-vats-of-goo that The Matrix portrayed, we’re overly informed people who instead knowingly shut out uncomfortable realities to justify purchases of laptops. So, when Hometruths scream “wake up”, the answer is regrettably that we are already awake – Donald Trump is already here and making no apologies for who he is. Rather, what we lack is engagement.
Make no mistake though, musically this record is really good. It fits together seamlessly from track to track. The drums are compressed, ordered and needle-thin, perfect for the kind of rhythmic gymnastics that the whole band engage in. ‘Vigilante’ is probably the best of the bunch, punchy and tightly-coiled with explosive energy. Opening track ‘Embers’ has an air-raid siren quality, creating an unnerving aural smoke-screen of screams as the band lay out their manifesto.
‘Open Your Eyes’ doesn’t outstay its welcome, and while its lacks focus in its target, you can still come away after several repeat listens in a row feeling unbelievably fired up. At who, and for what, isn’t entirely clear, but sometimes that’s all you need to soon work that out for yourself.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)