Tuesday 6th November 2012
The Well in Leeds, UK
Review & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
So, I'm going to say two words to you and I want you to promise not to immediately spit on the floor and close the page. Okay? Good. Rap Metal. This combination of words can needlessly reduce many a metalhead to whining like a little girl and, really, it doesn't have to be that way. Yeah, sure, Limp Bizkit happened and there's nothing we can do about that now but the actual idea behind it isn't too far fetched. Rap is probably the most aggressive non-Metal genre out there so, really, why can't they be bedfellows? Hacktivist are what Rap Metal should be: in your face aggression from every angle and with not a single goofy moment. And from the second Hacktivist start, you can tell they're the real deal. The djent-y riffs are overwhelmingly heavy with the most crisp sound I've ever heard filling this venue. Unfortunately, the vocals do get a little drowned out in the din from time to time but, overall, it's not really noticeable. Interestingly, the crowd's reaction is mixed, not between positive and negative but instead there are very different approaches to 'dancing' tonight... with a group of girls to the side doing a sort of grinding dance you could maybe expect in a Rap video while the guys at the front are violently headbanging. One guy takes it upon himself to bring windmilling to the party, I can't imagine I was the only one wishing he hadn't bothered. Admittedly the venue isn't packed out but Hacktivist have still drawn a decent sized crowd of all kinds of people. Unfortunately, the set isn't too long (coming in at about 40 minutes) but it's packed with quality tracks - especially notable is the crushing song 'Hacktivist' with its razor sharp riff bringing the heavy but not forgetting the groove. This kind of groove is obviously appreciated by the crowd and makes the music a lot easier to digest in this live setting - especially with some other, more complicated, songs. The track ‘Unlike Us’ is, however, the shining star tonight, avoiding any kind of wall of sound the track works incredibly well, giving you time to breathe between verses. As for the finale, we get 'Cold Shoulders', a furious track found at the end of their latest EP that mixes atmospheric keyboards with aggressive delivery, both vocally and instrumentally. You can tell that Hacktivist know what they're doing; they clearly understand and enjoy both elements of their hybrid Metal, wearing their influences on their sleeves to create something fresh that still feels familiar.
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
Hacktivist at The Well in Leeds, UK, 6th November 2012
Photograph copyright © 2012 Nicholas Dishington - www.metal-discovery.com