Review Summary: Farewell to the Master
The way is paved for the Leeds quartet. It is done with a fuzzy groove, fat riffage, bellowing vocals and a dose of Harry Bates sci-fi. Hawk Eyes body of work so far is a balanced composition of a contemporary, face-melt musical eclecticism. One that is built heavily on Modern Bodies. An emblematic Jane Doe of sorts.
So what's new here? Drowningman and Converge were there 10 years earlier. The answer is once again in the blend, not the ingredients. The atmospheric grooves are delivered with precision and force. Hardcore layers make love to math switches and the structure is a playful beast. The album tempo moves through the songs with a healthy dose of turbulence but there is still enough space to receive, reflect and headbang. There is chaos but it is boxed in the guitar pedals. There is a simple rock n roll but it’s full of character, dismissing the banality. It’s not all flavorsome single malt scotch though, there is some hooch too: The ambient production could have been a little less, well.. ambient. From time to time the fuzz and the overdrive drowns the essential. The drama of the guitar harmonies or the occasionally brilliant drum motifs are swallowed by the context. Luckily, the fog is not too heavy and mosh pit worthy moments are plentiful. Especially on the first half dozen tracks.
The band have things to say. It may be abstract and grotesque at times but the lyrical carry-on is solid. Solid enough to play a role and add a poet’s charm to the music that is undeniably bold.
There is a lot of style to Modern Bodies. Trailing the metalo-avant-garde of late 2000s, the band does sound original in its own right. Not a hollow experimentation with a sludgy/death/core riffs but an adequate form of expression. Or according to Paul Astick (vocals, guitar) maybe it’s all just trash as the life itself. Listeners will most likely decide for themselves and this is exactly what Hawk Eyes want from their fans to be doing (or maybe not at all). Hail the duality!
Sci-Fi themes are omnipresent on Modern Bodies and are etched in both the music and lyrics. Delicately placed here and there they complete the message in the way Bowie songs do. Climax is reached on Kerosene with GORT-like sound of a killing ray annihilating the masses. Masses that are not into (heavy and loud) sonic experimentation of Hawk Eyes.