Hacktivist are a band that have thrown themselves into the metal worlds conscience in the last couple of years and made one hell of a bang. Combining the down-tuned eight string guitars of the djent movement with grime and hip hop vocals is something that will make many traditional metal heads grind their teeth in anger and the truth is it appears to either inspire hatred or love from most that hear it.
Opening up proceedings was Edinburgh locals Incyte who blend quite technical music with vocals that are reminiscent of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (never a bad thing). Their first few songs fail to leap out at you but there is definitely something about this band and when they get heavy they sound fantastic. Particularly on their final song which has some riffs that get everyone in the room head banging along with joy.
Up next is a band that I should be all intents and purposes hate. The Algorithm are the brain child of Remi Gallego and he comes out onto stage with a table covered in a sparkly cloth, with only a laptop and a bunch of boards covered in twirly nobs on top. The only other thing on stage is a set of drums manned by Mike Malyan. It’s like a scene from my biggest gig nightmare, as someone who grew up with the belief that only guitars and drums should be on stage. Then they start playing, and it just… works. Gallego looks like a man possessed as he twirls nobs, flicks switches and does god knows what to create a sound that is part djent, part hardcore part god knows what but Jesus Christ it sounds good. It’s heavy and it’s brutal and it must be one of the few times I’ve seen an instrumental band manage to open up a pit. Meanwhile, Malyan is in the background beating the holy fuck out of his drums. Put your scepticism aside at the door and check these guys out because their the real deal.
Talking about the real deal the second Hacktivist hit the stage tonight there is a feeling that you are witnessing something special. With riffs so heavy it’s amazing people aren’t shitting themselves left, right and centre and raps that turn a bunch of metal heads into hip hop fans. There’s no two ways about it, these guys are just fucking cool and looking around the room tonight it’s clear everyone here knows it. With only an EP and a couple of other releases it’s a short set tonight but nearly every song in the room is rapped back to them and their cover of “Niggas in Paris” goes down particularly well. While a sneak peak at some new material suggests that things are only going to get better for these guys.
Watching this band you can’t help but feel like if Rage Against the Machine had burst onto the scene in the 21st century this is exactly what they would have sounded like. It’s fresh, it’s angry and it’s just pure exciting. If you don’t jump on this bandwagon soon it’s going to leave you behind and trust me when I say you don’t want this particular one to do that.