Hilltop Hoods
The Hard Road


4.0
excellent

Review

by dUSK USER (19 Reviews)
April 16th, 2006 | 18 replies | 9,725 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

After the success of Hilltop's 4th album, The Calling, The Hard Road is probably the most important album to be released by an Australian Hip Hop group. This album has to power to either capitalize on their previous releases success, making Aussie Hip Hop a force modern music, or it could prove it to be somewhat of a fad.

Now, you might ask how Hilltop Hoods have managed to justify the albums name? How many "Hard Road's" could a group with a Gold CD to their name have had to walk? Well, at present, not many, but prior to their commercial success they did have a few troubles. Most of which are mentioned in the albums lyrical content, but don't honestly think they've been through anything too serious.

For the remainder of this review, I will probably refer to The Calling a lot. Why? because it's the obvious benchmark when it comes to Australian Hip Hop releases. The Hard Road is certainly worthy of it's place as a successor, but unfortunately I don't think it reaches the level's that it's predecessor did.

The title of the albums first track, Recapturing The Vibe, is an indication of what Hilltop Hoods wanted to do with this album. They came within inches of this goal, but unfortunately the albums 15th track, Captured Vibe, comes a little prematurely. Actually that's probably they wrong way to put it. It all depends on what your 'vibe' is really. I have no doubt that those listeners looking for something to throw in the player at a backyard party will dig The Hard Road, as it holds plenty of "bangin' beats" for people to get down to.

Another reason I say this is due to the increased catchiness of the album's choruses. Those familiar with their previous works will know that the majority of their songs are memorable mostly for the verses, whereas The Hard Road has those choruses that a bound to get stuck in your head. It's not a huge difference, but it's something I noticed.

DJ Debris, accompanied by Suffa, is responsible for the majority of the beats heard on the album, and I must say, he has done quite a good job. His beats a generally upbeat, catchy, and well produced. A couple seem influenced by other genres, with the best examples of this being What A Great Night which sounds kind of Rock-ish, and Conversations From A Speakeasy, which shows a couple of nice Jazzy touches. Hell, he even sampled the funky bass line for Clown Prince from a 70's porno film.

As with any Hip Hop release, the vocals are the albums main focus, and both Pressure & Suffa have delivered. I'd always rated Pressure as the better of the duo, but with this release Suffa has improved his deliveries, and I now rate them as equals. This however, may be result of no really outstanding singular performances though, as Illusionary Lines was on The Calling. There is also a number of guest appearances, most of which are from fellow Aussie Hip Hop artists (Murph, Pegz, Drapht + more), with a few International Rappers thrown in for good mix (MC Omni, Braintax and Mystro).

Lyrically, everything is pretty solid. Half of the tracks subject matter makes reference to the 10 years or so that Hilltop Hoods were a group before they got any recognition. The half of the album has that whole BBQ and Beers theme that is associated with Aussie Hip Hop, so it's a nice mix of seriousness and fun. Unfortunately, it's kind of lacking when it comes to some of the brilliant one-liners, which I was expecting after hearing The Calling. And when it comes to lyrics, the Australian rappers definitely outshine the International guys, for the record.

Pros
- Enjoyable, catchy tunes.
- Slick beats
- Great vocals

Cons
- Accessibility. It might take some time getting used to the Australian Accents
- Failure to recapture some of the better elements heard on The Calling

Overall, Hilltop Hoods have released another awesome. Like all the other Aussie Hip Hop albums I've heard, it takes a couple of listens to grow on you, but it's well worth it. The Hard Road actually made it's debut on the Australian charts, which a feat no other Aussie Hip Hop album has managed to achieve. I won't say that Hilltop Hoods have managed to recapture the vibe created by The Calling, but have instead created an entirely new one with The Hard Road.

Minor Details

Album Info
Label: Obese Records
Playing Time: 50:37
Release Date: April 6th, 2006

Line Up
Vocals: Pressure
Vocals: Suffa
Mixing: DJ Debris



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2006



16083 Comments


Personally, you spent too much time saying it wasn't a revolutionary album and that it didn't measure up to the Calling, and not enough time on the actual music. Good review otherwise; well written and gives something of an idea of what this album's about.
I have The Calling, and I suppose I'll probably pick this up sooner than later. Although, I dont think I thought of the Calling as highly as you do, but then again, I'm not Australian.

Zebra
Moderator
April 16th 2006



2647 Comments


Nah, he only made a few statements and I think he spent plenty of time on the actual music. My only problem with the review is that you didn't point out enough songs.
I've only heard The Calling and I agree that it is an excellent album. I'm actually going to pick this up in a few weeks.

dUSK
April 16th 2006



94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After re-reading it I agree with Iluvatar's comment. I'll keep it in mind for future reviews (I'll possibly edit this one later today). Thanks for making your criticism's constructive guys.

As far as songs go, my favourites from the more serious side of things would have to be The Hard Road, and Pressure's solo track Breathe. For something more upbeat, give What A Great Night and Clown Prince a listen.

Recapturing The Vibe and Stopping All Stations can be downloaded from Hilltop's website, for anyone interested.This Message Edited On 04.16.06

BlinkMe-Rancid
April 17th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I saw them play at the Melbourne Big day out this year, Which was the second time i saw them play... They played lots of new material and it sounded great!

They have had this album on the feature for Triple J and I love it

Im buying it today!! if its not all sold out

BlinkMe-Rancid
April 20th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

New cd is pretty sik

Havent had a real good listen but i like

Recapturing the Vibe
An Audience With The Devil
and Clown Prince so far

JumpTheF**kUp
December 19th 2006



2710 Comments


[quote="Spat Out Plath"]
[quote="G_Mac"]
Captured Vibe comes a little prematurely. [/quote]

oh dear[/quote]

Ahahahahahahaha
This album's good from what I've heard. I love The Hard Road and The Clown Prince.

parso13
March 24th 2007



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is pretty awesome.

They are the new aussie icons i wreckon

Recapturing the vibe is the best pump up song download it now seriously

samthebassman
March 24th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good album, aussie hip hop at it's finest.

AtavanHalen
September 17th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can't wait to see how they follow this up.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2008



2670 Comments


The first third and last fifth of this record are awesome. Everything else is hit-or-[mostly]-miss. Enjoyable record for the most part.

AtavanHalen
September 17th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow, you divide records into fifths?

marksellsuswallets
September 17th 2008



4848 Comments


I read that comment five times before I figured out you were talking about parts of the album and not musical intervals...gah...music classes and lack of sleep are melting my brain!
Anyways...this sounds pretty interesting...

AtavanHalen
September 17th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You haven't heard it?? I thought everybody had. Especially even if Dave (who's Irish, I believe?) has heard it!

marksellsuswallets
September 17th 2008



4848 Comments


No sadly I haven't but I swear I will have by the end of the week!

AtavanHalen
September 17th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Check this out as well as the Restrung version of the album (they re-recorded the entire record with a symphony orchestra!).

marksellsuswallets
September 17th 2008



4848 Comments


mmm...Aussie hip-hop plus orchestral arrangements...sounds splendid

Jom
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2008



2670 Comments


Wow, you divide records into fifths?

Not really. I just like fractions over "The first five songs and last three songs are awesome."

PuddleSwimmer
May 28th 2009



1457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Quality Australian Hip-Hop



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