Hawk Eyes
Ideas


5.0
classic

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
April 6th, 2012 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wildly eclectic and forward-thinking, Ideas strikes a perfect balance between hardcore-infused fury, technicality and infectiousness.

Leeds-based Hawk Eyes have a knack for moulding a multitude of influences in their eclectic music. While their first album, Modern Bodies (released as Chickenhawk back in 2010), drew valid comparisons to noise punk legends, Unsane, given its no holds-barred, relentless approach to heaviness, Ideas departs from the previous full-length disc into a more diverse, fearlessly experimental direction. This doesn't mean that the quartet have resigned from such key components of their style as cascading guitar riffs, pounding bass lines, combative drumming and maniacal harsh vocals. The disc, in fact, vastly elaborates on the act's old sound, adding some unexpected facets that make their music particularly difficult to pin down.

Ideas contains a refreshing hybrid of styles with the group striking a perfect balance between hardcore-infused fury, math-rock technicality and infectious melodies that derive from alternative rock. Hawk Eyes sound spastic and experimental at one point only to become supremely accessible or even anthemic at the other. Their approach to a sonic onslaught relies heavily on frequent tempo changes, structural diversity and bizarre time signatures which can only match The Dillinger Escape Plan in their unpredictability. In addition, the songwriting feels admirably focused, yet oddly challenging throughout. The members of the band do a grand job in keeping their presentation fluid and, with its lean 40-minute running time, the album is suitably up-to-the-point as well as punishing in its delivery.

Paul Astick's versatile vocals are yet another asset of the disc. Aside from demented screams, his performance also features clean singing that frequently relies on arresting vocal harmonies. What's arguably the flashiest aspect of the disc is the multi-faceted guitarwork though. Both Astick and Rob Stephens deliver some of the most frantic and technical riffs in heavy rock. Opener “Witch Hunt” shrewdly incorporates plenty of superbly harmonized riffs into one biting whole, while dissonant “Yes, Have Some” sounds like Queens of the Stone Age on acid due to its peculiar rhythmic pattern. On the other hand, genre-bending “Bees” relies on a bludgeoning, sludgy riff in its ferocious chorus, being juxtaposed with spaced-out soloing in the track's finale.

Aptly titled Ideas may be a melting pot of influences, yet Hawk Eyes have absolutely no difficulty blending them together coherently. Especially the powerful mid-section of the album proves this point. “Hollywood Sweatshop” advances swiftly through its dazzling, often punk-echoing progressions, whereas “The Meeting” combines irresistible funky groove and playful chanting vocals to an unabashedly fun effect. Even when Hawk Eyes happen to explore their safer mode with a decidedly more traditional approach to song craft, their compositions are way more sophisticated than their peers'. For instance, “Headstrung” boasts supreme vocal melodies and has a linear structure that surprises with a mellow, nearly art-rock bridge.

Such boundless creativity, coupled with uncanny musicianship and subversive lyrics, clearly showcases Hawk Eyes as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to heavy rock. Ideas marks a major step in the ongoing evolution of the band. Endlessly daring and forward-thinking in its approach, this is one of the noisiest, yet most engrossing albums of the year.



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user ratings (55)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is my favorite album of the year so far. It really reminds me of Option Paralysis. These guys are hardcore punk minded version of Dillinger. Awesome stuff!

Digging: Algiers - Algiers

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ Hmm. You may not like it then. It's very technical.

CrownOfMagnets
April 6th 2012


2334 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this isn't nearly as heavy as dillinger either.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It is in places. Milk Hog is just as heavy imo.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

OK. Check out these then:



http://soundcloud.com/fierce-panda-records/hawk-eyes-headstrung



http://soundcloud.com/fierce-panda-records/hawk-eyes-skyspinners

Eclecticist
April 6th 2012


3863 Comments


Awesome review, very interesting to read.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks a bunch dude. I think you may like this.

Eclecticist
April 6th 2012


3863 Comments


I will definitely check it out when I get home.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thx. They have kick ass videos too:



Skyspinners:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5saljGR6-a0



I Hate This, Do You Like It:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE4xN3r2PI8



Whoah. Damn zombies.



insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey there! I watched the videos to the songs you posted and each time I was stunned by the change in rhythms and sound. They are cool, but a bit too metal-ish for me. Still, great review, you really combined here the words to make it a very interesting read. I have a lot to learn from your writing style haha. :D pos.

Digging: High on Fire - Luminiferous

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There's no such thing as "too metal-ish" for me, but thanks anyway man. These were 2 out of their least experimental tracks tbh.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll check the whole album anyway

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cool. The album deserves more attention on here. I have a feeling a lot of Sputnikers would enjoy it if only they gave it a chance.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's the case to a lot of albums. There are a bunch of albums praised by everyone and so many that people don't really want to check out because they don't hear about them. Many are preoccupied to listen to critically acclaimed albums just because they are critically acclaimed and don't just search to see what fits for them.

CasinoColumbus
April 6th 2012


340 Comments


Modern Bodies ruuuuuules. Still need to listen to this one though, but I keep forgetting about this album time after time. I guess dementia is coming early.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@insomniac15:

This is quite the opposite to what I do. I try to avoid the hype at all costs and actually search the stuff that interests me. That's why I'm familiar with plenty of excellent bands nobody on Sputnik has heard.



@CasinoColumbus:

I think it's much better/more mature than Modern Bodies. Still, these are completely two different albums. So, I can't say for sure that you'll like it more.

IAmInsect
April 7th 2012


3798 Comments


this is awesome.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes! I was totally surprised by how awesome this album is. Can't stop listening.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012


6690 Comments


'grats for the feature.

Check your shoutbox ;-)

Digging: Brannthorde - Auf Teufel Komm Raus

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thx. I know man. I'll listen to it later.



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