Album Review: Hivemind's 'Hivemind'
Sunderland-based rocksters Hivemind release their self-titled debut album on Friday 27th April.
Here’s a track by track review of the eleven songs...
Riot Envy kicks off the album with a footstomping combination of drum and heavy guitar riffs punctuated with the powerful made-for-rock voice of Lauren. She delivers the lyrics with a supreme confidence whilst avoiding arrogance. A must-have theme song for the rebellious!
Test Dream is a mid-tempo song that boasts clever instrument work by the band; guitars are made to do things you don’t normally hear, and vocal harmonies and backgrounds are used in good balance. A really well produced studio track.
Judge, Jury & Executioner reminds me of the best of the 90’s, for some reason. I think it’s the pace and arrangement combined with the verses that are sung being brought to the foreground. This one could be released as a single and easily score big with the public and radio stations alike.
Barely Breathing has a more moody feel to it, especially at the start. Very simplistic playing on the guitar and drums throughout, with Lauren showing off her voice range to great aplomb. The mixing plays an important part in this song, with instrumental effects added and vocal echoes put in all the right places.
Gods & Guns brings the listener back to full-on rockin’ with a crescendo start leading into phaser-produced lyrics about living fast and dying young. Short verses and powerful choruses make this a punchy song that goes straight into my ‘waking up’ playlist.
Sweet 16 relies on all sorts of cool guitar work to carry it through. The production on this song is strange; the bass guitar and drum timings seem to miss a beat, which means the flow of the song keeps getting interrupted. The vocals are the strongest and clearest during the verses but are drowned out in the chorus. But there is a cowbell at one point. This is probably the weakest song on the album for me, due to its stop/start arrangement.
Bad Disease is a track that’s already been released as a single at the end of March this year. There’s a lot going on in this song to appreciate, with great guitar work again, lead vocals used well to give the whole song a wild, untamed feel.
Wicked Game is the shortest song on the album, but what it lacks in time it makes up for in deliverance. It feels like one long, continuous loop of guitar and vocal married together in harmony. Great song to open a set, maybe.
Blindfold starts with what sounds like at first electronic keyboards setting a slow melodic pace, but I think it’s actually yet another clever use of guitar. The drums don’t kick in until halfway through, and although the pace stays the same the whole song is somehow lifted to a higher plane. Superb rock ballad!
House Of Mirrors starts with a catchy, meaty guitar riff and when the guitars explode into the song along with the low vocals it gives it an angry, determined feel that’s backed up by lyrics that single out someone who is about to feel their wrath. Perfect song to get pumped up to!
Hope is the last song on the album. Traditionally, I would expect a fast-paced belter of a song to go out in a blaze of glory, but the drum and guitar intro setting a slow to medium pace and long drawn out lyrics say this is a ballad. For the first two minutes anyway. Then a measured change of pace on the background instrumentals signal a blast of guitars that gallop the rest of the way in chorus with the vocals. Even though it’s the longest song on the album, it leaves you wanting more!
Overall, this is the best debut album I’ve heard in a very long time. The band show off their creativity as much as they can here, and it’s a pleasure to listen to. Some of the songs might not be heard the same in a live set due to the various studio tricks used throughout the album, but then that’s a good thing; you don’t go to a gig to hear exactly the same as the album you’ve got at home, do you?!
With Hivemind, you get the best of both worlds as an album and a live band.