Quite chuffed that Hawk Eyes sound no-less mental. I reviewed their debut back when they were Chickenhawk in 2009, and stone me, if that wasn’t a raw shred of bleeding fury, fronted by someone from the demon dimension doing a poor impersonation of a human male. Yeah, it was stonking great. â€˜Ideasâ€™ takes up the baton….and sets it on fire and hurls into your face.
I mean, why have cotton when you can bludgeon someone with a guitar instead? Thatâ€™s what Hawk Eyes do. The 11 tracks that make up â€˜Ideasâ€™ are a combination of destructive thoughts, dreams and aspirations. â€˜Ideasâ€™ feels like a more unified collection of songs compared to their previous release. Itâ€™s a lot less scrappy and bruised â€“ it feels tighter and is that groove? Hell yeah itâ€™s groove. The bass is more prominent; thicker, juicer and more guttural. The grime is still there, itâ€™s just in greater quantities â€“ so substantial that itâ€™s consumed their previous sound.
Opening track â€˜Witch Huntâ€™ has that slick, greaser groove of Queens of the Stone Age at their balls-out, rocking best. Vocalist Paul Astick is fairly feral sounding; delivering each word with this sneering charm of a man whoâ€™d probably buy you a pint one moment, before dangling you off a cliff five minutes later. The very fact the chorus has him barking the line: â€œYOU BELONG TO ME NNOOOWWW!!!â€ adds an air of trepidation to the delivery.
Guitars see-saw and flail like an army of flagellants descending on heretics on â€˜Yes, Have Someâ€™ â€“ holy shit this is heavy; it’s that unstoppable, unbreakable caterwaul of mania. Just when you think itâ€™s going to let up, they get faster and denser, jam-packing riff after riff after spiky riff into this scrawling wall of sound. â€˜Headstrungâ€™ is less that monster of sound; instead it relies on the guitars swooping and diving, creating a shuddering stop-start jerk, with Astickâ€™s vocals at their cleanest and clearest, rising above the At The Drive-In spasms.
â€˜You Deserve A Medalâ€™ is Hawk Eyes showing just how demented and fast they can be. Under 2 minutes of their frantic, taunt punk rock, backed by gargled, distorted vocals, held together with a fuzzy, sawing bass romp that is the closest thing to their old material, but so much more sinister and biting.
Astick does a great Mike Patton impression on the suitably ludicrously titled â€˜Hollywood Sweatshopâ€™ â€“ his voice alternating from this brooding, crackling rasp to a barking, stuttering yelp. The rest of the band pummels their way through a jazz-metal barrage at the beginning that evolves into a wall of ruptured noise-rock catharsis and a superbly meaty chorus to sink your teeth (beak) into.
â€˜The Meetingâ€™ is a sleazy, corporate barrage of spiraling noise rock and conjures up images of Patrick Bateman being a complete smug arsehole to everyone. God, you can feel the scorn as if itâ€™s a person thatâ€™s manifested itself in your house composed entirely of musical disdain. To say itâ€™s ominous is an understatement. The distorted vocals layered over the filth-encrusted bass groove, not to mention the chorus chant that appears to be â€œUPSET THE BOOKS!â€ backed by a roaring vocal wail of pain and confusion all adds to this feeling of intimidation and a constant need to watch your back.
Hawk Eyes ramp up the contempt and disdain though â€“ theyâ€™ve got buckets of it. Theyâ€™re painting the words ‘THIS IS DISDAIN, PEOPLE‘ in massive 50 foot high letters. â€˜Milk Hogâ€™ is ridiculous, but an oddly satisfying barrage of crusty, Unsane-style rock revulsion.Â The vocals â€“ god the vocals, which again channel Patton insanity on a track about craving a certain warm dairy product.
Amazingly, â€˜Bears By The Headâ€™ (incidentally, my favourite track on â€˜Ideasâ€™) actually contains some singing to begin with, which kind of feels a bit alien after the battering of the aforementioned tracks. Despite the somewhat, pop-rock opening it mutates into a mighty beast, with yet another hook-laden chorus and the vocals slowly getting harsher and more imprecise as the track ramps up the squealing, disjointed riffs and cries of â€œMAN VERSUS THE MINOTAUR!â€ Godâ€¦it just gets more chaotic.
â€˜Ideasâ€™ is the sound of Hawk Eyes embracing a stark, malevolent tone backed by monstrous riffs and some incredibly well crafted song structures. The right balance between ferocity, a wicked, cracked grin and crunching guitars â€“ vital and caustic listening, get on it immediately and ride the riffalanche.