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Album Review: RARE by Hundredth

South Carolina (former) melodic hardcore act Hundredth released their fourth album, RARE, on 16th June via Hopeless Records. It marks a change in sound and move towards a shoegaze, alt punk sound. It’s a move that pushes Hundredth away from the melodic hardcore sound they became known for, so much so that they recently stated that they’d only play new material live from here on in.

It’s not a surprising move, the move towards a shoegaze inspired punk sound has become pretty popular of late. The move has served the likes of Title Fight, Turnover and Balance & Composure well. Similarly, this new version of Hundredth is a marked step up in quality. There’s still nods towards their past hardcore sound, ‘Hole’ and ‘Disarray’ have ferocious riffs full of gusto and passion, and it’s their roots that give their new sound that extra edge and vitality.

While RARE is an enjoyable album you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re listening to Turnover. The change in sound has resulted in the band following others rather than stepping out into their new territory. That said, it is new territory for that band and a such a change three albums into their career has to be admired. As the band said, “We wanted to go on tour; we started a band because we wanted to go on tour. Truth be told, none of us really liked the music we were playing. We’re all into different shit, but it turned into a hardcore or metalcore band, whatever the fuck it was. It was an element we felt we could easily play at the level of talent we were at the time, so that’s the way we went with it.”

RARE is an album that lets the band excel and make use of their talent. Gone are the restrictions, it’s that freedom and vitality of a band doing what they want, how they want that makes RARE such an essential listen.

The album blossoms and impressed at every turn. It throbs and explodes in introspective and refined energy. ‘Grey’, ‘Suffer’ and ‘Down’ are the big standout tracks that confirm that the change was more than just a good decision. The post punk groove of ‘Shy Vein’ is thrilling, before you find it hard not to be affected by the emotional and tender closer ‘Departure’. A stunning finish to a fine album.

AD Rating 8/10

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