Most Viscous Animal by HIVE

The struggle of being such a rabid music fanatic is the constant game played within our minds as to where our true musical interests and beings align, and choosing the right type of music to suit the occasion that changes ever so frequently. Speaking personally, as you could probably see within the crypt’s playlists and wide variety of music reviews, I love just about every type of music. I know it is rather easy to say that, as the last conversation you had about music more than likely involved someone saying “you know, man, whatever, I like everything” or “whatever, I’ll listen to anything.” Welp buttercup, I actually do, fucking love everything. Music wise, anyway. Yeah, NOT YOU or your fucking dog selfies. And I WILL listen to everything. Even your problems. ANYWAY there is always room to grow, think, and feel differently about music and broaden your horizons and/or better yet… shorten them. It might take a little inspiration or something bad to happen to you as a child or whatever; I have my certain reasons for liking certain genres more than others, but I (as I’m assuming you do if you actually care enough to read reviews such as this one) hold a deep seeded appreciation and love for the art of music that cannot be tamed just because a band does or doesn’t embody a certain style or use a certain instrument. The only thing I will wholeheartedly turn my nose up to would be modern radio country music aka rap music for white people who are scared of black people, but we can have that conversation later. Fuck, I’ll even listen to coffee house acoustic shit when the hungover and looking for love (and if you don’t believe me here’s some recommendations here) before retreating back to my beloved home of death metal and glam rock. Saying you listen to “metal” or “punk” is at this point basically saying nothing about your true musical interests, as the subgenres have widened and blurred lines that we hardly knew existed. One could sound like folk songwriters from the hills of the Netherlands, plug in a few pedals, add some soaring vocals to the occasional double bass kick, and you have a metal band. Another, could be unintelligible chaos, a vomiting noise, and guess what, that’s metal too. Or is that punk? So where do we stand here? I digress, because this record hardly has anything to do with any of that bullshit, BUT, it is a dangerous hybrid of threatening, fast, and bad attitude driven musical delight. Besides having the coolest minimalist album art I’ve seen all year; channeling Halloween vibes and pain (casually getting heavy tattoo inspiration), I had no preconceived notions or ideas of what HIVE has to offer. DO YOU WANT TO FIND OUT?? I sure as hell did. It won’t leave you disappointed, but it will leave you bloody. Sounds like the ideal sexual situation.

Throwing an axe blindfolded amongst a sea of chaos and striking gold, a perfect balance, is what HIVE has done with this “Most Viscous Animal” …and OH MY DAMN, that’s the album’s title too?? I was merely trying to describe the sound. It is, though, that. And also, a said perfect balance of hardcore, violence, power, powerviolence, punk, crust, crust punk, grind, core, grindcore, horror, pain, sin, and splendor… and as the subgenere jokes will cease I will say it is absolutely perfect for us AD/HD driven kids with songs lasting spanning from 1 to 3 minutes with absolutely no room to breathe. That specific style has been becoming more and more appealing to me as time rolls on… Aka getting jaded with the force fed pretentiousness of the 16 minute black metal songs but also not wanting the standard shit, either. Sometimes, you truly do just need 3 chords and the truth, my brothers and sisters. And THAT is conveniently where I would like to tie in the longwinded musical alignment intro as earlier in my pathetic life I really didn’t mess with grind or hardcore near as much; it developed an appreciation in me like a fine Scotch I’m guessing would (tequila and blood ONLY no exceptions) so this record was absolutely delicious to sink the ‘ol fangs into. And, as I am obliged to mention, a perfect soundtrack to more than a few gym sessions. Especially when you’re crunched for time and low on energy.. this venomous 31 minute all kill no fill album will have your heart beating up against your ribcage harder than Igor on Morbid Visions; and will leave you face first in a pooling creation of your own sweat, salvia, and whatever else. Wether you worked out or not.

Keeping the spirit of Posion Idead & Discharge alive and well, heavy on the D-beat but also heavy on literally everything else, HIVE prove to be an unstoppable forcefield on this record from the tone of the opening snare drum assault on “Waste of a Man” to the final droning strings of “Tomorrow Will Be Worse”.. and if you couldn’t tell by the titles, they’re here to spread nothing but optimism. Truth be told, as positive as we all try and need to be, I LOVE hearing music that doesn’t hold back the rotten truth (especially in today’s social climate) and not just retain their their ability to be pissed off, but harness that energy and use it in a powerful musical way. Flying the flag of the middle finger in the form of hardcore, powerviolence, grind, whatever you choose to call this type of jam, it THRIVES in that environment. In fact, it would be rather useless without it. There is almost no point in my opinion of a tongue in cheek band of this nature.. the mission gets lost and coveted in the chaotic shuffle. Unless, of course, you are Carcass because let’s face it you are not so let’s move on.

Not wishing to simplify their music down to a few hardcore seconds of being pissed off and a riff, while that is certainly there, there is also much more to it, which makes this record such a special one in a genre that is lacking experimentation and originality. “Threaten” opens with a riff that could be considered shoegaze in this environment; and it just continues to swell with hypnotic punk energy. The primal and concise beats of the drums reinforce the involuntary headbanging state, which is of course destroyed, as most beautiful things are and is totally punk rock. Yes, the rest of the song is indeed a gnarly vocalized and viciously orchestrated 4 minute, yes.. four WHOLE minutes, masterpiece of pain. Having two guitarists in the band definitely help give HIVE that little extra sumthin’ sumthin’ that they need; and this track is a perfect example of masterful riff work in a little punk tune. There are several ear-perking moments on this record where the guitar work is much better than it has any right to be, ie ripping licks, screeching harmonics, and reinforced power chords of pure hell that send “Most Viscous Animal” into a rabid frenzy. The following track, “Deceiving Days” is a lesson in militant groove, proving that these violent tunes can be even more effective when modestly paced with tighter than coffin lids timing, while letting the vocals reign above the chaos. Other tracks such as “Human Jaw” and “Chains of Apathy” employ heavy use of the rhythm section with bass that will rumble through any structure that stands in its way. As much as I would love to do a track by track breakdown of this record because there are truly unique and all around killer moments on each song, I can’t give everything away. BUT! I WILL throw out there that feedback section at the beginning of “Ritualized Crime” sounds eerily similar to the piercing sounds during the opening credits sequences of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” when the camera flashes serve as lighting to a rotting corpse. On that point, I would like to mic drop this review.

Rating: 4/5

Gym Rating: 5/5

Check em out: