Almost one year ago, I had the pleasure to meet some very talented young musicians from the UK during my daily routine of checking the latest and breaking news surrounding the progressive metal scene on the Internet. I was expecting the usual cup of "djenty" tea produced within the borders of UK, but these five guys totally caught me off guard with their debut EP, and their very original sound.
A metal page like this doesn't welcome rap and hip-hop music with open arms, but things are about to change. Forgotten memories of the good times spent together in company with rap-metal came flooding back to me, when I was introduced to Hacktivist for the very first time. Metal bands like KoRn, Linkin Park and Swedish Clawfinger followed me closely in my younger years. With the exception of Clawfinger the other two bands are surprisingly still breathing and living this day, today, sadly only as a pale shadow of their former glorious self. Once upon a time though, there existed one band, who ruled them all, and it walked under the banner of "Rage Against the Machine". This particular rap-metal band had a large influence on the so-called 'nu metal' scene that gained enormous success during the late 1990s, but in recent times most of these bands are sleeping in their graves. So will someone take the responsibility and claim the right to carry the flag, and move the action to a fresh new battlefield? My answer to that question is yes, and it's spelled...H A C K T I V I S T.
First, let's go back in time to where it all began. Two years ago in the city Milton Keynes, guitarist/vocalist and producer Timfy James and his close friend Jermaine "J" Hurley on vocals, founded the five-piece group named Hacktivist. Later on, they allied themselves with Josh Gurner on bass, Richard Hawking on drums and Ben Marvin (Timfy's former bandmate) as their second vocalist to assemble a complete lineup preparing them to follow up on the great success of the first demos released on the Internet. They quickly moved forward with the birth of their first self-titled EP becoming a reality, which captured my attention last year, and raised a few eyebrows in the metal community worldwide with the release of tracks like 'Cold Shoulders' hitting over 100k views on YouTube just within the first week of its release. The same goes for the release of the new tune "Elevate" passing almost half a million views, which is one hell of an accomplishment considering the rather short existence of Hacktivist.
So what's all the buzz about then? Well, they have managed to setup a fantastic production across the board with their own "A-Team" available on this new journey, and deserve a standing ovation for their courage and sheer demented genius of fusing two apparently very different and unique music styles progressive metal with rap. You will receive an injection with a healthy dose of rather technically complex chugging "djent" riffs masterfully served by the fingers of Tim. All of this beauty is woven seamlessly into ambient passages and atmospheric layers accompanied by the powerful duet of the two vocalists J Hurley and Ben, both masters of the fast tongue. They are rapping through each of the six tracks with the occasional use of clean and harsh vocals mixed in between. It is indeed a very tasteful, delicious and explosive cocktail consisting of a wide variety of flavors, which comes mainly from bands like Linkin Park, TesseracT, Monument, Vildhjarta and Rage Against the Machine.
If these bands make you weak at the knees, and the first EP slipped through your fingers last year, then don't hesitate to pick up this upgraded version of their debut EP, which includes the five tracks from the original masterpiece with additional four bonus songs added to the track list. Everything included on this new disc is remastered, and will be worth every single penny spent. If you support these five lads on their quest, maybe this will boost the chance of making my wish coming true next year, a wish for a full-blown progressive rap-metal album by Hacktivist. Only time will tell if the quintet will be able to carry the legacy of their mighty ancestors "Rage Against the Machine", and becoming the next big step in the evolution of progressive metal, nu metal and rap-metal. As a great man once said, "I believe in everything until it's disproved" /John Lennon.