Have a listen to: "Unravel" and "Daze"
Hundredth – Free
Release Date: 16th June 2015
‘Free‘ is the first release from Hundredth since they switched onto their new label Hopeless Records in 2014 and signals a departure from their long-standing relationship with previous label Mediaskare under whom they released two full-length albums and two EP’s between 2010 and 2014. Hundredth are clearly not ones for resting on their laurels and taking it easy.
Sonically the melodic-hardcore quintet seem to have made noticeable strides in the way they write and produce their tracks. Their earlier album ‘Let Go‘ was much more representative of their hardcore punk roots and they seem to be moving away from this with an increased emphasis on the melody within their songs.
This does not, by any means, imply that they have given up on the heavier aspects of their song-writing. They do however seem to have moved more into the realm of ambient heavy metal where they will find themselves in good company. The tracks tend to be comprised of high tempo drum beats, complemented by rhythmic guitar and vocal harmonies that, while not exactly clean, seem to be screamed passionately while being easily comprehensible. A feat that a lot of vocalists do not manage when focusing on making themselves sound heavy.
The album opens with an intro track that sets the mood for the single ‘Unravel‘. This is a pretty good representation of how the album pans out from here on in. Vocal hooks make the chorus extremely catchy while steering away from the cliché of gang vocals that seem to have become so commonplace in the genre. Hundredth also manage to place guitar harmonies and small lead parts throughout to create another pleasing layer to their songs, without descending into over-the-top shredding.
The next track ‘Inside Out‘ demonstrates the band’s ability to vary their sound within a song, beginning with a hardcore punk drum build up and verse, but later building to the anthemic and catchy chorus that is so liberally used in this album. They slow the song down and then build to a fast-paced climax. It’s a lot to accomplish in a song that is barely over two minutes long!
The next couple of tracks seem to be along the same lines as ‘Unravel‘. Not bad songs but nothing that particularly grabs my attention, until we get to my favourite track on the album, ‘Daze‘. Initially, it seems to be business as usual but the aggressive, riff-driven middle section really appeals to me. I think it’s a nod to their punk roots and it certainly would not be out of place on one of their earlier albums.
The band conclude this full-length effort with ‘Burdens‘. A solid track, also pretty representative of the whole album that you have just listened to; aggressive, energetic and angry. The whole album never really lets up and allows you to reflect, but that is clearly an attitude represented by the ethos of the band themselves.
‘Free‘ seems to be an album that Hundredth took a chance on. They developed their musical stylings and stepped into a new direction, but they did this while still making reference back to how they started. I believe they have benefitted from the change and have created an album that sounds fresh, polished and exciting enough to create new fans, but also retains enough of the punk energy that they began with to keep die-hard fans happy. It’s a balance that few bands achieve when trying something new and should be applauded. In future I would like to hear their tracks change direction a few more times, maybe create some tension in the songs and allow for a more dramatic build up, but I’m sure they have plenty of time to explore that and, if there past release schedule is anything to go by, we’ll be hearing more from these gentlemen very soon.