Outside the Box
Release Date: March 11, 2016
Formed in 2011, Hacktivist is a British Rap Metal band. Outside the Box is their debut full length and it follows their self-titled 2012 EP. While you can hear the Technical Metal style in the guitars and production, there is also enough rebel spirit and experimentation to remind you of artists like The KLF, Tech 9, Lowkey, Information Society, and Die Antwoord; Bands that refuse boundaries and have a message that flows against the grain of modern society.
Musically, this will certainly appeal to fans of Technical Metal and Metalcore/Screamo. The music is tightly timed and often relies on machine gun guitars with the rap vocals, clean singing, and screams weaving in and out of the mix throughout the album. The rap vocals are most dominated but the band manage to keep it out of cheesy territory, with most of raps coming off as emotionally charged as the screaming vocals.
“Taken” is an unquestionable highlight here for me. It features Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds and when the clean vocals hit they really, really soar. The rap parts in this song are backed by heavy, stuttering music, which provides a ballsy offset to the anthemic chorus. “Outside the Box” relies more on the rap vocals and the slow build into the song gives it an urgent feel that reminds me of how Lowkey flows. The melodic guitars counterbalance the rap. This is easily the strongest lead guitar work on the album, putting to bed any idea that these guys aren’t the real thing.
Overall, I dig Outside the Box. Like any Technical Metal or Rap or Rap Metal album, it’s not something I could personally listen to 24/7. Right now metal seems to be stuck and, even though this isn’t completely original, Hacktivist is a nice change from everything else. If you really enjoy the combination of Rap and Metal or just want to rediscover this underappreciated genre, you should check in with Hacktivist.
Reviewed by mark1340