By J.J. Anselmi
Hive’s self-titled debut is hardcore punk in its most acidic form. While many punk bands revolve around ‘We can do it if we try!’ political ideals and group sing-a-longs, Hive plays depressive d-beat that seethes with misanthropy. The legacy of His Hero Is Gone, Cursed, and Discharge is alive and kicking on this EP.
Hive begins by punching you in the face with “Bait And Trap.” Palpitating drums push a charging wall of tar-soaked riffage, and singer/guitarist Morgan Carpenter screams lyrics about the parasitic nature of organized religion. The song has a relentless drive, but there’s also deft changes sprinkled throughout, which sharpen the overall attack.
Some hardcore bands paint themselves into a corner by only playing at one main tempo, but the second track, “Experiments In Sleep Deprivation,” moves with a joyless, mid-paced churn. Sleep deprivation often causes a generalized anxiety, and this song will grind your psyche into a similar state.
The fourth track, “Reversal Of Fortune,” crawls with the nihilistic trudge of Noothgrush, further illustrating Hive’s range of approach. “The Lure Of The Loom” and “Subordinate” then provide an apt end to the EP by returning to abusive hardcore. Both songs will pummel you and then drag you across a gravel road at high speed.
In a way, tough-guy hardcore and pop punk are musical forms of self-help. With lyrics about personal responsibility, determination, and finding your true self, bands in these genres often promote the life philosophy that we’ve all heard a million times: you can do anything if you set your mind to it. But Hive is a direct argument against that. The EP’s central message: everything is fucked, and it probably won’t get better, at least not any time soon.