Despite forming in the midst of Leeds’ underground metal scene of the mid noughties, Hawk Eyes are yet to find the recognition they deserve. Formerly known as Chickenhawk, the Yorkshire quartet have released “Ideas” – their first album since the name change – but has the music changed as well?
As a band Hawk Eyes are hard to pin down to a genre, other than the catch-all tag of ‘alternative’. It’s inherently metal but full of experimentalism and punk elements that only improve their sound and makes them one of the most interesting bands in the UK today. Opening on the hook-filled ‘Witch Hunt’, the band are surrounded by the same staticy sound that is so often associated with Queens Of The Stone Age, but is used freely throughout the LP to great effect.
First single ‘Skyspinners’ is one of the best songs on the album with its anthemic chorus and barnstorming thrashy overtones. Mixing catchy lyrics with the absolute chaos that ensues during a Hawk Eyes live show, this anger-fuelled flurry keeps progressing harder and faster with frontman Paul Astick screaming his lungs out – despite receiving doctor’s orders to calm it down – although generally he’s much less of a growler than before.
The fact that the vocals are cleaner, though, hasn’t hindered the quality of the album. “Ideas” is the strongest record Hawk Eyes have produced throughout their career; it’s full of headbanging riffs, punky drums and powerful vocals. Lyrically the band shine brightest with catchy choruses full of heartfelt words that are begging to be screamed by thousands of people.
‘Hollywood Sweatshop’ is the epitome of Hawk Eyes‘ alternative guise as it starts with the casual oddness the Leeds lads are used to, but transcends into a huge passionate singalong. The similarity to the likes of Antlered Man become clear in their erratic nature but these purveyors of anti-metal encompass early System Of A Down and ideas of prog in their own brand of music.
“Ideas” is an amalgamation of various alternative scenes coming together in one wholly brilliant record. Since 2004 these guys from up north have been honing their sound and their material has simply improved as they’ve grown as a band. From the short, sharp blast of ‘You Deserve A Medal’ to the huge, wailing album closer ‘Bees’, there’s so much to sink your teeth into. Buy it and buy it now.