The boys in Hanshotfirst are post hardcore through and through. Their strong self-titled debut EP Hanshotfirst and the official video for their prime track “2001” are giving them some quick success. They’ve played their local scene to death and established their name as one to be revered and admired. The first thing I noticed was the charm of their accents and how it contributed brilliantly to the vocal delivery and of course their harmonies that act like haunting descants.
Again, “2001” really is a hell of a track. I would highly encourage them to build upon the settings and elements within that song. For the time being this EP seemed just a little too different from track to track. In hardcore there’s a time for anguish and intense delivery, but there just as many times that you need that contrast of melody and integrity for composition, counterpoint and hooks. That’s popular music in a nutshell and I was expecting more of that formula. For better or worse, that isn’t a big issue and I am more than happy to give it a pass especially considering the style.
I think we all know what track gets the “weird name award.” “We Should Have Killed Quaid On Mars” is a breakneck slam rocker that has pit written all over it. The chorus frees things up with a solid 8 on the floor halftime groove before returning to the panic inducing assault. It’s not incoherent or awful, but you can tell this would not work at a children’s function. The vocals are very versatile on this track, lower register tones, with raw screams and those great harmonies/gang vocals.
“Hard Off The Line” starts with sweeping acoustic and has a great progression outline with a seamless vocal entrance. I can’t help but hope things get heavy later on. I’m a sucker for ballad beauty and wall shaking power. This track nearly cracks six minutes so I will applaud their choice to expand on their craft and let the music grow and become bigger than itself. There is no sign of boredom here and I’m along for the ride with eyes wide. Sure enough, the drums pound and we’re in full on rock mode. All the song’s elements climb on each other like a team of scouts racing to the zenith.
In the end, this album impresses but the clearcut highlight is “2001.” One hit wonder? We’ll see what’s up their sleeves on the sophomore.
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