Hacktivist, live in Brighton

Support: Dead Harts, The One Hundred

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It seems fitting that as media outlets compete with each other to predict which sonic phenomena will dominate our ears in 2015, Audio is playing host to one of the most viciously modern of line-ups imaginable. The One Hundred [7] are far from the finished article, but their vibrant quasi-metal soundclash oozes so much punk vim that an initially sceptical crowd succumb within minutes of their arrival. It certainly helps that frontman Jacob Field is a charismatic ball of energy, possessed by the multi-genre squall of his band’s tunes and gifted with a versatile range of screams and bellows that bring to mind everything from Suicide Silence to Atari Teenage Riot. If you’re looking for an alternative to banal, identikit metalcore, this lot could well be the future.

Gnarly, chaotic and unrelenting, Sheffield’s Dead Harts [8] may seem a little out of place sandwiched between two bands that surf skilfully on modernity’s tidal wave, but there will always be a place for brutality and cruel dissonance in heavy music. Pitched somewhere between the excoriating bile of Converge and the beefed-up ‘core values of While She Sleeps, the Harts are not overly worried about getting people dancing, but a good fistfight can be every bit as cathartic.

It’s hard to deny that what Hacktivist [9] do is a little too far removed from traditional notions of heavy music to appeal to most diehard metalheads, but there is still a strong sense that something important and subversive is going on here. The quintet’s cross-pollinated approach digs deep into the scattershot consumer habits of the 21st century while always remaining firmly rooted in the visceral thrill that only balls-out, sweat-drenched and deafening live music can deliver. And while the band have been playing most of these songs for the last two years, they still sound like the future of something, even if it may take a while for everyone else to catch up.

New songs Deceive And Defy and No Way Back may not deviate from the Hacktivist blueprint of crushing tech-metal riffs and juddering polyrhythms topped with rapid-fire raps, but a subtle sharpening of the band’s compositional blade has clearly been going on behind the scenes. More importantly, frontmen J. Hurley and Ben Marvin have grown in confidence and command the stage like old pros, eyes ablaze with exhilaration and an unmistakable air of bullish determination informing their every lunge towards an ecstatic and rowdy crowd. Closing their set with the blistering Elevate, Hacktivist may have taken their time to arrive at this point, but 2015 is surely theirs for the taking if they can deliver an album that captures the intensity of their onstage presence. And yes, closing with a cover of Luniz’ 1995 chart smash I Got 5 On It is an audacious move underpinned by a certain red-eyed cockiness, but as with their rewiring of Niggas In Paris, they own the song completely by the time the first chorus kicks in. All we need now is that album.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.