Cruel Hand

The Negatives

Written by: PP on 27/11/2014 00:06:52

Who said hardcore had to consist of monotonous beatdowns and down-tuned riffs only? Was it ever forbidden to have fun with the genre? These are all questions Cruel Hand find themselves asking throughout fourth album "The Negatives", which despite its dire title actually feels like a happy hardcore album due to its playful riffs an innovative approach to handling the genre. Much in the vein of Deez Nuts and Your Demise before them, the band opens their record with driving grooves on "Pissing - Spitting", a super catchy hardcore track that should have plenty of cross-genre appeal due to its upbeat and melodic nature.

That's not to say that traditional hardcore (and older Cruel Hand) fans should be disappointed, because songs like "Why Would I" go heavy on down-tuned riffs, piercing solos and two-steppable rhythms. But then they return with an infectiously catchy song like "The Negatives" that dares to break away from the conventional yelling into a more spoken-word, almost rapped approach, that is until we reach the chorus which burns itself into your memory on first listen. Bass riffs are thick and vibrant in the mix, creating the perfect chance for some two-step action during verses whilst the chorus absolutely demands fists in air style sing alongs. Still, overall the record takes on a much more punk-rooted approach from the truer than thou hardcore of their previous records, which is a refreshing change because it gives the songs on the record some space to breathe and expand as individual tracks, and more importantly, distinguishes Cruel Hand from their peers from the get go. Sure, it comes at the expense of the mammoth beatdowns and karate friendly sections of previous material, but that's a much welcome change as it gives the band a chance to sound less generic and forge more of an identity for themselves.

It is this type of thinking - daring to be different - that stands out on the new Cruel Hand album and elevates them above many of their peers in the hardcore genre. Sure, genre purists will decry the all-too-catchy "Helter Skelter" parts of "Heat" or the added focus on melodic parts (conveniently ignoring the grindcore style production on the buzzsaw guitars) as demonstrated on "Unhinged - Unraveled" for example, but let them complain. Fact is that Cruel Hand have with "The Negatives" released an album that in hardcore terms can be dubbed as experimental, innovative, and most certainly brave. This is exactly the kind of breath of fresh air that hardcore needs.


Download: Pissing - Spitting, The Negatives, Heat
For the fans of: Deez Nuts, Your Demise, Turnstile, Expire, Cro-Mags
Listen: Facebook

Release date 23.09.2014
Hopeless Records

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