Hawk Eyes – Ideas

Band – Hawk Eyes
Album – Ideas
Label – Fierce Panda
Release date – Out now
Sounds like – Chickenhawk….wait…no?

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. ‘Ideas’ 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? That’s what Hawk Eyes do. The 11 tracks that make up ‘Ideas’ are a combination of destructive thoughts, dreams and aspirations. ‘Ideas’ feels like a more unified collection of songs compared to their previous release. It’s a lot less scrappy and bruised – it feels tighter and is that groove? Hell yeah it’s groove. The bass is more prominent; thicker, juicer and more guttural. The grime is still there, it’s just in greater quantities – so substantial that it’s consumed their previous sound.

Opening track ‘Witch Hunt’ 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 who’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: “YOU BELONG TO ME NNOOOWWW!!!” adds an air of trepidation to the delivery.

Guitars see-saw and flail like an army of flagellants descending on heretics on ‘Yes, Have Some’ – holy shit this is heavy; it’s that unstoppable, unbreakable caterwaul of mania. Just when you think it’s going to let up, they get faster and denser, jam-packing riff after riff after spiky riff into this scrawling wall of sound. ‘Headstrung’ is less that monster of sound; instead it relies on the guitars swooping and diving, creating a shuddering stop-start jerk, with Astick’s vocals at their cleanest and clearest, rising above the At The Drive-In spasms.

‘You Deserve A Medal’ 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 ‘Hollywood Sweatshop’ – 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.

‘The Meeting’ 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 it’s a person that’s manifested itself in your house composed entirely of musical disdain. To say it’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 “UPSET THE BOOKS!” 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 – they’ve got buckets of it. They’re painting the words ‘THIS IS DISDAIN, PEOPLE‘ in massive 50 foot high letters. ‘Milk Hog’ is ridiculous, but an oddly satisfying barrage of crusty, Unsane-style rock revulsion.  The vocals – god the vocals, which again channel Patton insanity on a track about craving a certain warm dairy product.

Amazingly, ‘Bears By The Head’ (incidentally, my favourite track on ‘Ideas’) 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 “MAN VERSUS THE MINOTAUR!” God…it just gets more chaotic.

‘Ideas’ 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 – vital and caustic listening, get on it immediately and ride the riffalanche.


Hawk Eyes Official Site
Fierce Panda

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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