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Hacktivist: Weapons of mass disruption

Hyperdialect, the brand new album from UK metalcore/rap disruptors Hacktivist, is a tough one to quantify. It’s not a record that can be judged by its mix or master, its ratio of words per minute to screams, its pacing, or its composition. It’s an album that’s worth far more than the sum of its parts, as much about the errors in human decision-making as it is about verses and choruses.

As the name would suggest, Hyperdialect is a dialogue; and its value in communicating can only be measured on whether or not we do anything with the lessons and warnings it’s trying to get across. Hell, if we’d started even with listening in the first place, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in the world we’re in right now, as Blunt Magazine would discuss with vocalists/lyricists Jot Maxi and Jermaine “J” Hurley.

“For us,” Jot explains of the album’s name, “it’s just our weapon. It’s our mix. Our fusion of music is pretty hyperactive, and so is our dialect.”

Dialect was an interesting term to use, given the political weight it holds behind it — they could have simply said language, but a dialect is a language denied an identity. In the context of Hyperdialect (and indeed Hacktivist), it’s apt though. This is the language of protest from the perspective of those who are often denied the identity of human beings in lieu of something more akin to cattle.

But free from the rigid scaffolds of traditional language, dialects can evolve and expand, especially when used exclusively in a hyperactive fashion. For instance, Hacktivist’s so-called hyperactive dialect has become considerably forward-thinking, strangely allowing them to put ideas into song before they even manifest into reality.

“We’ve been doing it from the start of Hacktivist,” J says of the band’s habit for spying social trends before they become part of the greater discussion. “We’ve been doing it all the time…Even from our first song, ‘Cold Shoulders’, [the lyrics were], ‘volcanoes erupt from beneath.’ Volcanoes started erupting. When we’re writing, we always look to the future. We are all quite futuristic people, especially Jot, thinking ahead, thinking way ahead. It’s not a coincidence. On ‘Elevate’, we’re talking about people turning up at the White House in crowds. And then bang!”

“Exactly,” Jot interjects. “It’s been very cool to have written this album before all of this. And then when all of this happened, I was like, ‘Damn, it’s something. Is the world about to change, and are all of these songs about to become obsolete?’ In fact, the opposite happened.”

The opposite being that rather than the songs losing relevance, the content on Hyperdialect became concerningly accurate. “Did you see all that stuff about Wall Street and Robin Hood?” Jot posits.

“We’ve got a track on the album called ‘Currency’. It’s that Robin Hood mentality, I reject the law, withdraw from the rich to inject the poor. And it talks on all currency. And it’s like, ‘Wow.’ There’s a lot on the album that’s still relevant, and probably will continue to be.” He surmises: “What it comes down to is we are very predictable as a species.” Having said that, attuning your senses to this brings little comfort.

“It’s cool that we have a knack for touching on subjects that then emerge even more after we’ve made a song about it,” J explains of the creative well that is the collapse of society for lyrics. “But the truth is…I always feel something coming. Always.”

“Yeah,” Jot adds. “I was about to say, I still do…”

J cuts back, “The state of the planet. It’s scary, man. I’ve got a five-year-old boy. What kind of world is he going to be growing up in when he’s my age? It concerns me.”

With Hyperdialect, J addresses these concerns head-on, ranging from climate disasters to corruption all wrapped in a nice, tidy middle finger to the ultimate evil: Capitalism. It’s one thing to have an eye for such things, but to write them down in a cohesive manner is a coveted skill, a skill that Jot says can only be realised “line-by-line.”

“I can’t write about anything else,” Jot adds, “So I don’t sit down and go, ‘Oh, I’ve got to write about this.’ It’s just what comes out. There’s probably, unfortunately, rappers out there who sit down and go, ‘I’ll write about my car, my fucking bitch. I’ll write about my bitch and my car today.’ That’s super cool for them. Unfortunately, I sit down, and the first thing that starts coming out is like, ‘Just…look at what’s happening.'”

As well as ‘Currency’, Jot and J point to Hyperdialect tracks that also embody the ethos of fast thinking, fast talking, crystal-balling dialect such as ‘Lifeforms’. “I went pretty hard on that lyrically,” J explains, with Jot adding that “it’s a new breed.” He elaborates: “It’s a very unique track, and it definitely goes very hard, lyrically.”

‘Turning the Tables’ also scores an honourable mention from the vocalists. “We’re always looking for ways to go off each other better and to harmonise in a better way. And that track for me, we really touched on that very well. We did that. We did a good job with that.”

With Hyperdialect, Hacktivist have wrapped the big topics in a neat package, and sugared down the medicine with a thumping metalcore soundbed on which their machine gun word-flow finds a place to lay down. Now it’s on us to not just hear but listen, with our whole bodies and our whole intent.

“We all know deep down there’s a better way of doing this,” Jot concludes. “We’re doing things wrong. We’re destroying ourselves, the planet. Everybody’s out for the quick buck, right now. Do it the quickest, easiest way. But if that wasn’t the case, if we weren’t all fed by that greed, then maybe our priority would be, ‘Let’s make all of our cities like Singapore, for example. Let’s make all of them self-supporting and green.’

“Can you imagine what things would be like then?”

Hyperdialect is out now.