American hardcore is more popular than ever. While it may be long past the glory days of Black Flag and Minor Threat, contemporary bands like Terror, Defeater and Capsize are still dominating the underground world with their hard hitting riffs and bellowing lyrics. The latest group to leave their message on the hearts of their fans is Hundredth, whose latest full length, Free, is guaranteed to become a staple of the modern hardcore sound.
From the more traditional vibe of “Isolation” featuring Vogel-esque vocals and a Flash Point worthy drumming speed to the simplistic lyrical metaphors (“You were pulling me/Just to watch me unravel”) featured in “Unravel,” Free encompasses a range of sophistication throughout the entire record.
There’s a strong sense of intention rooted in all of the lyrics vocalized on Free. Lines like “He is the needle/I am the damage done” on “Burdens” and “I won’t allow/I don’t need validation to define me/I justify manipulation” in “See Beyond” prove that attention to detail and a verbose nature really can be successfully utilized in music today without feeling overworked or cluttered.
Free is not only a great record for its witty use of words, but also for its intense melodies and riffs. Banking on tempos to create an emotional ambiance, Hundredth is able to capture feelings of frustration (“Reach”), anger (“Break Free”), and even notions of inner and outer criticism with tracks like “Beggar.” Hundredth continuously places focus on the contradictions of slowed down riffs over deep, sped up vocals, making the intensities effortlessly meld with the various emotions lyrically put forth.
Hundredth created a very complex album in just 11 tracks and they did so by maintaining the basic elements of modern day hardcore but embellishing them in new ways to convey more concise, contemporary ideas. This kind of thinking and musical foresight is most likely why the group landed themselves a spot on the 2015 Vans Warped Tour and are still able to uphold a truly intimate club vibe while dominating a world famous outdoor music festival. And hopefully, all of the records to come from Hundredth in the near future are able to do the same.