For all the good and decent things earth has going on right now, there’s a lot of negatives in this world. From Minorities being mistreated to agenda driven news spreading a message of fear and hate. On their debut full length, Hostile Array tackles all the aforementioned topics while providing an anthemic and rebellious soundtrack perfect to vent these injustices to.
Kicking the album off is with feedback and a chunky bass groove is Herd Instinct. This track perfectly encapsulates the generally vibe of the album as it balances melody and intricacy with bull in a china shop brute. Most notable is the chorus, which finds the guitars trading off between chugging and metallic tinged riffing as frontman Brendan Frey howls “Blind allegiance is the lifeblood of tyranny.”
Hot on the heels of Herd Instinct comes Bastardized. Perhaps the best representation of extremes in Hostile Array’s arsenal, this track showcase some of the tightest riffing on the album in the verses, while the chorus is a burst of anthemic singing over lead-driven guitars. Fry infectiously sings “Sell your rights / sell your freedom” while guitarists Hector Fernandez and Garrison Frey lay down a swell of atmosphere.
The lead single off the album is Devoid, which serves as the strongest track on the record. Beginning with ambient guitars before reaching their boiling point with frolicking toms, Frey opens the song by pleading “Father forgive them, they know not what they’ve done.” The song takes a break from politics and instead chooses to focus on the value of the human life; how many justify violence against others with disregard for the repercussions. Frey finds his inner Garrett Russell of Silent Planet, as he proclaims “Prejudice inspired by their own fears / Interventionism for the gain of profiteers / Where is the grief for the innocent tombs? Or is life only sacred inside of the womb? / Out of sight, out of mind, all the bodies left behind. Out of touch, out of time, justify all your crimes” before plunging into the final chorus.
Migrant Myth drops some of the heaviest riffing on the album before galavanting into one of the best, stop-start breakdowns on the album. The straightforward heaviness of of Migrant Myth makes the lingering and thoughtfully rhythm driven verses of Newspeak all the more savory. Track 6 is perhaps the black sheep of the album as melody takes the reigns on this track, choosing to plod along with bass led verses from Andrew Markle, while drummer Freddy Menjivar sprinkles in creative fills and busy beats.
The cherry on top of the fresh air brought to the album with Newspeak is the chorus. One of the most powerful and infectious on the album, Frey drops the gruff edge used in most of his singing in favor of a Chester Bennington style croon. Trust me, “We were tricked into thinking there were monster outside / but it was under our bed where they did reside / When we finally found them it was far too late / cause the damage was done, in my head it was never the same” will be stuck in your head for days.
The most recent single on the album, Warmonger, comes out swinging with head splitting riffs and pummeling drums, begging for pit participation. Menjivar steals the show in this track with creative fills and aggressive battering. The bridge of the song features some of the most powerful instrumentation as with each member adding something to the mix, turning the intensity up to 11.
RIYL: Wage War // Silent Planet // Fit for a King