Released: 2008, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Let’s get this out of the way immediately: the members of Germany’s Hackneyed average sixteen years of age and—brace yourself—do NOT play deathcore!
Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, I went into this review with a pre-conceived notion of what lay ahead that I couldn’t seem to shake. As the first note of DEATH PREVAILS came rattling through my speakers, I was just waiting for the breakdowns and slams to kick in. Instead, the debut from Hackneyed (might want to re-think that name, mein freunde) is a surprisingly catchy but brutal death metal record filled with nary a breakdown and none of the members have those stupid swoopy haircuts, either. The guitars swirl around a mid-tempo chug while the drumming is simply insane but behind the brutality is an innate catchiness that hangs over everything. There is nothing found in these nine songs that a hundred other death metal bands haven’t already done but take into consideration their age and these guys are certainly on the right path to success. Imagine if Suffocation had met up with Decapitated for a late-night gropefest and you’d end up with DEATH PREVAILS as the wretched spawn.
Like Decapitated’s Vitek, Hackneyed skinsman Tim Cox has a busy pair of feet and handles the blasting well on tracks like “Unseen Enemy” but can also lock into a rolling groove on “Ravenous” or shift tempos quickly on “Neon Sun” without batting an eye. “Gut Candy” is low, guttural death metal in the same vein as Vader and Suffocation and the downtuned, Bolt Thrower-ish guitars of Devin Cox and Felix Papp on “Worlds Collide” really caught me off guard with its opening riff that sounds very close to Prong’s “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” “Symphony of Death” incorporates the greatest amount melody on the album, teetering into the same mid-tempo melodic death that Amon Amarth practices (minus the Vikings, of course).
To say DEATH PREVAILS is a pleasant surprise is an understatement. Maybe it was the shock of hearing a high-quality, old-school death metal album from such a young band but Hackneyed really sets itself apart from the current trends. Hopefully, the money-sucking industry doesn’t try to morph these guys into a more marketable unit because their youthful gimmick will certainly set a lot of traditionalists off before they hear a note. Yes, we’ve heard this style before by seasoned veterans but good on Hackneyed for paying homage—and doing it well—to their forefathers. DEATH PREVAILS won’t be breaking any new ground but the ground they stand on is tried, true and skull-crushingly heavy.
KILLER KUTS: “Gut Candy,” “Ravenous,” “Neon Sun,” “Worlds Collide,” “Symphony of Death”