Overall Score: 6/10 Production: 8/10 Riffage: 8/10 Originality: 5/10 Pros: Heavy riffs Cons: Slightly derivative
Cleanse the Hive are a band unafraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, and from the opening notes of their new EP ‘From the Depths’, the band that comes to mind most readily in relation to the Aberdeen five-piece is New Wave of American Heavy Metal titans Lamb of God. Throughout listening to this EP, the ferocious, groove-based riffery of tracks such as Eviscerate and The Reign of Tyrants seem to lovingly reference the early, more death metal influenced days of the seminal American metal band’s existence.
However, this isn’t to say ‘From the Depths’ is simply derivative to the point of irrelevance; granted, at times, the band descend into something that feels a little too much like imitation, but that said, if there’s a good band to imitate, Cleanse the Hive have chosen them, and to their credit, there isn’t a dull moment on the EP. Its great to see a heavier band who understand the importance of dynamic range in their songs, and whilst the synthesized strings in Cities of Gold are a little tacky, the band’s use of an interlude only serves to increase the brutaluty of ‘From the Depths’ as a complete offering. In addition, whilst guitarists Jordan Pacitti and Glen McMillan are clearly technically proficient players, its nice to see them exercising restraint and choosing their moments to take the limelight tastefully, instead of letting rip with long, extensive solos on every track.
Moreover, there is clearly a deal of originality at work here, evident in the impressive vocal range of frontman Callum Hutchinson, who stretches the boundaries of harsh vocals to an impressive degree, jumping between equally powerful high screams, growls and brutal pig-squealing. Closing track Terror Rising in particular introduces some really interesting vocal ideas that set the band apart from others aping the same kind of sound. Meanwhile, riffing on title track From the Depths belies a definite metalcore influence, and the guitar lines on Eviscerate and Terror Rising, especially leads, suggest the band have had their finger on the pulse of the tech metal boom of recent years. Mix in a small handful of well-placed breakdowns, and suddenly Cleanse the Hive are a prospect a little harder to pigeonhole than they might have first appeared, and a British band worth watching over the next few years.