Hacktivist – Hyperdialect (Album Review)

Hacktivist – Hyperdialect
Released: June 18, 2021

Lineup:

Hurley // Vocals
Jot Maxi // Vocals
James Hewitt // Guitar
Josh Gurner // Bass guitar
Rich Hawking // Drums

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Five years of waiting, two years in the making, and here it is. Hacktivist’s highly anticipated second studio album, Hyperdialect, brings everything to the table. And let me tell you, their dynamic is tight, musicality strong, and aggressiveness up close and in your face.

Let’s kick it off with ‘Anti Emcees’. We have a lovely atmospheric opening and then guitar and drums just drop in out of nowhere blasting some low tuned djent. J. Hurley’s rapping is rapid, dirty, dangerous, and it’s immediately clear that J’s rapping and Jot Maxi’s harsh vocals blend seamlessly. These guys are fluid, and if you didn’t know, it’d be hard to tell there are two vocalists.

‘Luminosity’ makes it very clear that the vocals are the focus. They’re the main melody and the star instrument here. The guitars and drums are an underlying melody, presenting much of the feel of the song, but the vocals and will run right over you and pound you into the ground. Can we talk about Jot’s harsh growls? They sound almost demonic, and at such a fast speed it’s almost impossible to distinguish the lyrics on the first couple of listens.

I reckon ‘Lifeform’ is the most interesting song on this album. A bleugh bursts into being and that bass is so groovy. This song really plays with pace in an exciting way; heavy screams lead into a heavy chorus, but we also hear a stripped back verse. It’s like they’re building us up and playing with genres all over the shop. And it works because you’ll be hooked. Oh, and hang out for an incredible riff towards the end of the song, it’s a winner.

The two tracks featuring other artists, ‘Armoured Core (feat. Kid Bookie)’ and ‘Hyperdialect (feat. Aaron Matts)’ both totally send it. You want a track for when you’re lifting the heavy heavy at the gym? Go for ‘Armoured Core’. The song you wish they’d play at a club that played heavy music is ‘Hyperdialect’. Would you get injured in the mosh to this song? No doubt.

Has everyone seen John Wick? Yes? Good, glad we all agree that it’s a crazy good movie. Now, ‘Turning tables’, that’s a fight scene song if I’ve ever heard one. I want to see Keanu Reeves whipping out some cool moves, a chase scene, and throwing down some bad guy over his shoulder to this song. Do I need to say more?

You need to listen to ‘Currency’ for those djenty guitars. And if you’re looking for a song to run to, I can guarantee this track (whole album actually) is fast enough. How do I know? I bloody counted the beats didn’t I, and it’s damn fast at around 165 BPM. Looking to get into running or hit a new 1km PB? Chuck this on and thank me later.

I’d like to say that ‘Dogs of War’ is a slower song, but it’s not really. The melody is a bit slower which gives it a less rapid feel, but the vocals are still spitting. Jot’s gruff screams really stand out in this song, and there’s even a growl that sounds like a bark. Not an arf arf in sight though.

Both ‘Ultima Dies’ and ‘How Dare You Exist’ sound off. Off in a creepy, minor-chords-so-it-sounds-eerie kind of way. ‘Ultima Dies’ features menacing, low vocals and a black metal feel with a double kick. It’s unsettling to say the least. ‘How Dare You Exist’ puts you on edge with a creepy repeating melody. Proggy drum lines sit slightly off under the vocals and it’s uncomfortable to listen to, but deliberately very well put together. And oh my gosh we have a plucky, proggy riff that is very reminiscent of Polyphia. Yes please, and thank you.

‘Planet Zero’ is an angry song. I don’t know how these guys rap and scream this fast but it’s sensory overload sometimes trying to take in every element. This track blends everything together a bit too much. But ‘Reprogram’? That’s an album closer for sure. Heavy on the synths, heavy on the prog, heavy on the djent, and heavy on the lyrical content. The lyrics, ‘I will not bow down / we will never bow down’ are super prominent, as is ‘My mind is mine to reprogram’. This track feels like a big shout to wake up to the world in its current state, and that the time for realising change is needed, is now.

Hyperdialect is not a casual album. This is an album you listen to deliberately to decipher the lyrics, drown in the riffs, and use J and Jot’s aggressive vocals to help get your adrenaline going for whatever you’re facing.

I can’t say it better than Jot himself,

“With this album we’re coming through and we’re attacking. We’re coming for politics, certain aspects of the music industry, the way society thinks and our ingrained ideas and stereotypes. The media, the system, politics, adverts…everything. Everything is being fired at.”

Hacktivist – Hyperdialect tracklisting

1. Anti Emcees
2. Luminosity
3. Lifeform
4. Armoured Core (ft. Kid Bookie)
5. Turning Tables
6. Currency
7. Hyperdialect (ft. Aaron Matts)
8. Dogs Of War
9. Ultima Dies
10. Planet Zero
11. How Dare You Exist
12. Reprogram

Rating: 8/10
Hyperdialect is out Friday via UNFD. Pre-order here.
Review by Ebony Story

About Ebony Story (128 Articles)
Wall of Sound Music Journo & Podcast Host // Loving the heavy heavy

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