If you’re an avid fan of the underground metal scene, you must have noticed that hardcore has made its long-awaited comeback. Covered in spit, sweat and blood, hardcore bands and their followers have been getting louder and louder in the dark and dingy gig holes of the UK, and as a result some are finally receiving mainstream attention.
Hawk Eyes (formerly known as Chickenhawk) have been touring Britain constantly in recent years, after their formation in the Leeds DIY underground metal scene. With their third album slated for release early this year, an EP has been released to keep the hoards of followers at bay. Titled “Mindhammers”, this five-track showcase provides a taste of what you’re in for when their new LP drops in the coming months.
Opener ‘Crack Another One’ is pure Hawk Eyes in its skittishness and its ominous sound. The distorted vocals and overall thrashy nature of the music keeps the tempo fast and furious, with a distinct groove throughout. The big anger-fuelled rhythms are reminiscent of the the new incarnation of Gallows, which transfers across the EP.
The most erratic performance on the record is the slower, chugging, odd-structured ‘Dead Man’s Hand’. Sounding very similar to Antlered Man, the infectious addictive lyrics and music will turn any Hawk Eyes doubter. The unusual structure has a number of breaks and fills that don’t quite fit, but work so well.
Hawk Eyes aren’t afraid to try something new on “Mindhammers” either. The post-rock-esque ‘Eleven Years’ is much slower than the previous three songs with definite And So I Watch You From Afar influence. Whereas final track ‘Hidden Hound’ has a stoner metal feel, the thrash from 15 minutes previous has long gone and you’re left with a dirgy, slow mover that gives a glimpse of Paul Astick‘s clean vocal ability. The track eventually expands into an evil flurry of noise that descends into static, leaving you breathless at the last 20 minutes.
The Leeds lads have produced a rip-roaring EP that proves why their popularity is soaring across Britain. The innovative structure and overarching hardcore edge is enough to keep any metalhead interested, but it’s surprisingly approachable for those who are only discovering ‘extreme music’ (where have you been?!). If their as-yes-untitled third album is this good, then it could be one of the dark horses of 2012. Watch this space.