Returning with ‘Hyperdialect’, grime driven metallers Hacktivist aim to continue to build on the promise shown on their 2016 debut LP, ‘Outside The Box’. Undoubtedly a sound of their own, Hacktivist continue to blend down tuned guitars, snappy verses, and thick synths with varied results.
Sliding from tender finger-picking and galloping guitars to lush synths, Hacktivist pick up where they left off with ‘Anti Emcees’. Serving as a re-introduction to the group, vocalists Jot Maxi and J Hurley bounce off one another as lush soundscapes morph from swirling pads to bone rattling guitars and snapping drums. A simple yet effective opener, ‘Anti Emcees’ brings its focus on the lyrical narrative of the track and the furious delivery of both Maxi and Hurley.
Following up with ‘Luminosity’, choppy guitars, double kicks, and a rapid fire delivery create a bouncing and straight to the point cut. Whilst it doesn’t capitalise on its strong introduction, ‘Lifeform’ pulls the record back on track. Fusing grime and grinding guitars, the song plays with djent style chugging and ambient synths whilst also giving way for a hypnotising verse by Hurley at its midpoint.
Building on the energy with ‘Armored Core’, delivering furious verses and lurching guitars, the band deliver a tightly wound set of influences. Complete with shredding guitars solos and a dominating chorus, ‘Armored Core’ distills the strongest elements of the Hacktivist‘s sound. The same can also be said with ‘Turning The Tables’, as grime verses pump alongside The Prodigy-esque synths and chugging guitars to keep the momentum of the record moving.
As ‘Hyperdialect’ continues to play through, unfortunately a growing number of tracks get lost in the mix as we see ‘Dogs Of War’, ‘Currency’, and ‘Planet War’ each follow a similar blueprint yet fail to push through and make a lasting impression. Granted, the album’s title-track as well as ‘Ultima Dies’ stand out, with the former leaning on a passionate vocal performance and the latter serving a sonic shift from the fast paced vocals and grinding guitars, but they can’t quite salvage the noticeable missteps.
Closing with ‘Reprogram’, Hacktivist end the record a really high note. Passionately delivered and unpredictable, complete with tempo changes and a glitched breakdown, the band uncover a strong and dynamically attesting track, which clearly showcases how potent Hacktivist can really be.
An uneven record, ‘Hyperdialect’ could ultimately benefit from a shorter runtime. If they utilised the properties of the record’s clear highlights to their full potential, Hacktivist could still create a record of unhinged brilliance.