After the release of their 2011 full length Let Go, South Carolina natives Hundredth return with their follow up EP, Revolt, that lives up to the imagery invoked in its seemingly revolutionary title. Vocalist Chadwick Johnson takes a markedly different approach to lyrics than in their previous works, focusing in on distinctly political themes that fit with the musical nature of the album. Demonstrating their matured sound, the band has shed many of the catchy melodies of past songs, instead presenting an album honing in on thunderous drums, berating the ears with harsh and powerful guitars and of course Johnson’s guttural screams.
Lyrically the album surpasses any prior work the band has released, demonstrating Johnson’s capability to sling out lines that transcend the typical themes of the average hardcore song. Instead he captivates the listener with lyrics so drenched in pain and anger that every scream on the record feels genuine, something few modern vocalists have the ability to do. Johnson accentuates the theme of slavery throughout the album, touching on both physical and mental bondage while simultaneously offering – in his vocals and corresponding lyrics – a release from this bondage.
Revolt also acts as a musical call to arms, with many instances of Johnson challenging listeners to rise above and act out against tyranny and injustice. He emphasizes this rebellion, this revolt in lines such as “We can stand or rot where we lay / Nothing less than war / Revolution of the enslaved” that caps off the track “Free Mind/Open Spirit.” It is safe to say that Revolt features the most urgent and important lyrics Johnson’s ever written for Hundredth.
However, the revolution of Revolt does not end at Johnson’s lyrics, for the music itself represents a departure from past work and offers its own form of rebellion. Opting for a more mid-tempo approach to the songs, guitarists Alex Blackwell and Andrew Minervini provide hard-hitting riffs that also feature a notable sense of groove, making every song on the EP a head-banger. As mentioned previously, the EP features few melodies, instead pummeling the listener with rhythms that are reminiscent of the past two Stray from the Path albums.
To put it mildly, this album is essentially a tease. Hundredth have clearly settled into a much more refined and poignant sound with their latest EP, at the same time only giving fans a taste of what’s to come in the forthcoming counterpart to this EP, Resist. In phasing out the excessive use of clean vocals and melodies, the band demonstrates in Revolt that they demand to be taken seriously by the hardcore community. Furthermore, the fundamental ideologies at the lyrical heart of this album prove that the band is looking to do much more than share their music with the world. Hundredth is attempting to improve the world and the lives of its citizens with their music and if that’s not an admirable thing to do, then I’m not quite sure what is.