Hawk Eyes
Everything Is Fine


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher EMERITUS
February 19th, 2015 | 37 replies


Release Date: 02/10/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Leeds riff masters unveil their most accessible collection of songs to date.

Leeds-based riff masters Hawk Eyes have become increasingly difficult to pigeonhole. While their debut Modern Bodies was easily defined by its propulsive post-hardcore tendencies, the record that followed presented a more complete picture of what Hawk Eyes are. Ideas combined said post-hardcore with mathcore-derived technicality and a keen sense of melody. It resulted in a conundrum of an album that worked on every level imaginable, treading a fine line between engrossing genre experimentation, unbridled fury and great hooks which propelled the music in equal measure.

It's particularly telling that the band's frontman Paul Astick criticised the groups that cling to the same style for long periods of time during one of his most recent interviews. Hawk Eyes are anything but that, shrewdly altering styles even within the confines of a single song with songwriting dexterity and sharp focus to boot. The quartet rely on a hodgepodge of influences that range from alternative rock to various shades of hardcore and metal, and so their tremendous versatility makes them feel equally comfortable supporting on stage such divergent acts as Therapy? and System Of A Down.

The act's third full-length Everything Is Fine doesn't exactly follow the formula of the quartet's previous record, favouring straightforward song structures over off-kilter shifts. The direction already signalled by 2013's EP That's What This Is sees the band opting for grander hooks and more powerful melodies, which places an increased emphasis on Astick's improved vocals. He's still adept at handling maniacal screams, but also there's a new found vulnerability to his performance. His croons on 'Die Trying' are perfectly in line with the song's desperate tone reflecting on the ever so relatable notion of writer's block, while on 'More Than A Million' he advances from deliriously sleazy verses to soaring refrains.

As regards song craft, Hawk Eyes are still not afraid of taking chances. Opener 'The Trap' sounds like nothing this band have done before with its Tool-echoing angular rhythm giving way to an uplifting chorus and head-scratching finale. 'The Ballad Of Michael McGlue' is as playful as it is intriguing taking a cue from sea tales. Meanwhile, closer 'TFF' makes for a superb love song with its arresting progressions that balance dreamlike passages with visceral post-hardcore outbursts. These somewhat mellowed-out tracks certainly broaden the quartet's sonic palette. However, they're interspersed with much more familiar heavy rockers that feel both boisterous and tightly written. 'The Ambassador,' 'Permission,' and 'Terribly Quelled' are particularly phenomenal, blending punk-echoing aggression with deep grooves and a penchant for infectious motifs.

The album's sonic attack is built on the potent interplay between driving rhythm section and titanic guitar play. Hawk Eyes are at the top of their game in that regard, finding a comfortable middle ground between massive sludgy riffs and dissonant embellishments. Guitarist Rob Stephens proves highly resourceful as he delivers plenty of ear-piercing guitar solos that lend the music an additional edge. Even though Everything Is Fine relies on a more streamlined songwriting approach than its triumphant predecessor, Hawk Eyes haven't lost their knack for causing havoc with their raucous brand of heavy rock. The group's rampant energy and ingeniousness have always been undeniable, but now they've successfully managed to point them into a more accessible direction.




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user ratings (49)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheBarber
February 19th 2015


3529 Comments


Ideas ruled and nice two punch review, definitly intrigued

greg84
Emeritus
February 19th 2015


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah. I basically like everything this band puts out. This is no exception.

Digging: St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION

greg84
Emeritus
February 19th 2015


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There are already two rad videos for this album! Yay!



Die Trying:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA7DJpOAHQM



The Ballad Of Michael McGlue:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qexktujIZP0

Ponton
Emeritus
February 19th 2015


6118 Comments


Love this band

Digging: Movements - Feel Something

GreyShadow
February 20th 2015


1721 Comments


Just listened to the 2 songs with videos and i'm starting the full album now. Really digging

Digging: Circa Survive - The Amulet

DrGunther
February 20th 2015


202 Comments


Cool review Greg! Saw these live last Friday in a tiny venue at the last minute 'cos a mate had a spare ticket, was pretty damn good... Think they're the type of band that takes a few listens though as there's so much going on in every track.

I also thought the support band were called "Everything Is Fine" because of the banner behind them. There's only so much stupidity you can blame on the beer.

greg84
Emeritus
February 20th 2015


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha. I hope they rocked hard. I'd love to see them live. You're right about them. This LP's still more straightforward than Ideas.

DrGunther
February 20th 2015


202 Comments


Yeah was good gig, if a little short (they only played 45 mins). But RIFFS! What more do you want? Venue held maybe only 150/200 people so we were right in the thick of it.

Reckon I'll check this one out first then Ideas.



greg84
Emeritus
February 20th 2015


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool. I like smaller venues. I still prefer Ideas which was my favorite album of 2012, but yeah... this seems more accessible.

ComeToDaddy
February 20th 2015


1594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really excited to check this one out, Ideas is a killer. Nice review

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
February 20th 2015


2414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review Greg. Listening to this album in particular, I'm reminded of latter day Therapy? and sometimes even Converge at their most laidback, but no song here is weak at all. I think some aren't as "grabbing" as others (opening song "The Trap" was a bit of a slow start for me), but the rest of the album is really great stuff. Highlights for me would be the title track and "The Ambassador" amongst others.

Digging: The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers

robin
Emeritus
February 20th 2015


4426 Comments


they practice in the room next to my work 8)

if they see this comment i will be hella embarrassed

greg84
Emeritus
February 20th 2015


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really dig the first track on here, Robert. Still same as you I sort of prefer more rocking tracks. The Ambassador and the title track are great picks for sure. I'm really partial to Permission, More Than A Million and Terribly Quelled too.



That's awesome, Robin. I bet you're already familiar with this record.

SharkTooth
February 20th 2015


13751 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I usually try to avoid metalcore but I couldn't resist the fact that you called them "riff masters", checking them out right now

IncurablyInane
February 20th 2015


47 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really, really enjoying this right now. Need to check the rest of their stuff. Great review as well

xenocide.
February 21st 2015


1263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, man. Definitely will also check out Ideas soon.

JAV
February 21st 2015


2744 Comments


As expected, quality material here.

NightProwler
February 21st 2015


7005 Comments


Good review. I remember their last album as being pretty great. Will have to relisten to it, and then check this out

ComeToDaddy
February 21st 2015


1594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is pretty delicious

4N4LB34D5
February 21st 2015


354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

woah i had no idea this was coming out already! awesome. their last ep was perfect



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