You’ve got to love the UK hardcore scene in this country. The strength and originality of these like-minded bands makes for some of the most exciting music we’ve come across in years and we’re still finding bands doing interesting things with the genre.
Take Hunt/Gather for instance; these Scots have slowed things down slightly to allow them to take time building their riffs and punctuating them with some beautiful, melodic moments that are all too rare in hardcore. The band only formed in 2011 and have already have an EP under their belt. So here we are in July 2012 and the band have presented us with False Monuments; their debut album, and what a promising debut it is.
As previously mentioned, Hunt/Gather are a hardcore band with melodic elements. This theme runs through the entire album and allows the band to switch from heart-on-sleeve post hardcore to crushing metallic hardcore with devastating effect. Vocalist Geoff Begg does a magnificent job of switching from his grunty scream to a brilliant, off-kilter croon which makes for some of the most impressive vocal work I’ve heard in ages.
Guitarists Barry Carlin and Leigh McMillan also do a fantastic job with their duel guitar attack which usually consists of a huge riff accentuated with some really creative leads. The leads are far more prominent in the more melodic, post hardcore sections and it’s this marriage of heavy and melodic that give Hunt/Gather a signature sound they can call their own.
It’s a shame then that the leads are also the weaker parts on this album. While they’re perfectly functional, they don’t hit home nearly as hard as the riffs. There’s never a big enough hook in the lead-driven sections to get the song lodged in your head and Begg’s vocals always sound lost trying to compensate for a weak melody.
The highlight of False Monuments is also the most urgent and that comes in the form of Grounds for Divorce (don’t worry, it’s not an Elbow cover). This song is Hunt/Gather’s statement of intent; an immensely brutal track with massive riffs, thunderous bass and a relentless energy that suits the band well. The slower, melodic parts also help the song in showcasing Begg’s clean vocals and luring you into a false sense of security as the song changes back to crushing you with heaviness.
It’s these moments where you really get to appreciate Begg’s vocal range as certain tracks like Habouring fall a little flat as the uninspired leads force Begg to sing in a lower register which doesn’t have the impact as his higher, soaring vocals like on the brilliant Cold Furnace.
All in all, this is a really promising debut from Hunt/Gather. The album clocks in at 27 minutes over 9 furious tracks and showcases a young band with a bright future. If the band could work on getting more creative with their lead guitar parts and presenting us with some big hooks to prove how good Begg’s vocals really are, they’d be onto something really special. However, this is still early days for what is still a very fresh face in UK hardcore. Keep your eyes on these boys; they’re going places.
Order False Monuments from Hunt/Gather’s BandCamp: CLICK HERE