Review: “Vile” by H.O.U.N.D.S

VILE is an album which delves into the darker extremities of humanity and emphasises the inner self-destruction we possess. It also gives a message of hope and empowerment that we can all overcome our demons.” Talking about the inspiration for the title, he adds “We feel VILE not only defines the subject matter of the album but also displays the aggression and power of our music” ~ Ash Hoy

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of previous incarnation Dead Town Nothing with unfinished business are H.O.U.N.D.S, an five piece Hardcore crew from the Isle of White who have joined a growing roster of bands in inking a deal with US label Kingside Records (Sore Teeth, Pistol Grip Suicide, Deadwood) while becoming not only older and wiser but also more aggressive. Blending Hardcore and Metal with angular riffs and larynx splitting vocals for a potent and hard-hitting sound with a pair of singles in “Beast” and “Snakes” that started this new chapter, this maybe their second album but as debut “The Dead Town Nothing Tapes” essentially closed the book on Dead Town Nothing, this is really where it all begins…

Coming out swinging with “Die Before You Die“, a knuckle sandwich of a cut filled with swirling riffs, hard hitting breakdown with Every Time I Die meets Knocked Loose vibes as Ash Hoy spills his guts and asks the question “What the f*** keeps happening to me?” is a great place to start any Metallic Hardcore record. The band sound just as aggression fuelled as those aforementioned critically acclaimed singles before running headlong into traffic with the explosive “Prey” which sprints from the start line like a dungeon whippet before tastefully slowing down for mid track crush. H.O.U.N.D.S waste no time getting straight to the vicious point on these cuts with their aggressive tendencies tending to result in tracks that run to below follow the classic Hardcore Punk route and end below the three minute mark. It’s all about the hard hitting rhythms and abrasive riffage supporting those savage vocals and creating something that’s going to get people stage diving, high fiving and generally sweaty and it does exactly that. But there is also a lot more to this band than breakdowns and two-steps as they prove they can do dark atmospherics, battery acid nausea inducing chugging and create some serious tension in some of these; “Terrifier” being the pick of that bunch. They know how to beat your ear drums to a pulp and leave your head spinning and in Ash Hoy they have a vocalist who is about to get informed that he’s voided the warranty on his vocal chords. He loves nothing more than blending an introspective lyric with one that points the finger and shakes the fist and that combined his fire and venom spitting approach goes with the brutal downtempo breakdown finale of “Driller Killer” like your spirit and mixer of choice over ice.

He’s not afraid to push himself either and his vocals on “Brutality” border on the unhinged at times while fleeting clean calls of “we fall” are the only time in which the unclean chain is broken before the arrival of Marcos Leal of Ill Nino and Shattered Sun fame for “Break What’s Broken“. Something of an experiment, H.O.U.N.D.S create a beautifully mournful melody for Leal’s soulful pipes to take the lead as Hoy screams the backing vocals on a layer underneath and it works perfectly. It wouldn’t fit anywhere else on the record because getting back from this powerful atmosphere building, anguish laden cut to something would be a real challenge because when Hoy steps up to become the lead vocalist for the cut glass finale, he brings with him the plague winds of devastation. Including “Beast” and “Snakes” as bonus tracks makes sense because on the one hand they’re both killer cuts and on the other they haven’t been re-recorded. By that, we mean there is a marked difference in guitar tone, the album having a Thrashier tone compared with these two which have something more in Hardcore territory; the drum sound is different and so on; so if you put them in the middle of the album they’d stand out like the thumb you just hit with a hammer. The curiosity is that a third single “Stick Tight” that appeared between those two and the album isn’t on here; that one sounds like it was from the album sessions but we digress. If you’re looking for a solid Metallic Hardcore record with Underground vibes packed full of caustic incendiary energy, then this one is for you [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Die Before You Die
  2. Prey
  3. Yellow Belly
  4. S.H.I.T
  5. Driller Killer
  6. Brutality
  7. 237
  8. Terrifier
  9. Life | Pain | Death
  10. Break What’s Broken (ft. Marcos Leal of Ill Nino and Shattered Sun)
  11. Beast
  12. Snakes

Vile”  by Hounds is out now via Kingside Records

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