Quick! What do you get when you cross hardcore with rock n roll? Normally, the answer is something atrocious. However, this time it’s not so bad. In Hydes Shadow are a little band coming out of New South Wales’ Central Coast who are blending the best of both worlds. Even better, they’ve managed to not cock it up. Their debut EP Insomniatic is a highly enjoyable, if not game-changing, listen that blurs the line between hardcore and rock.
The first thing that strikes you is frontman Aaron Smith’s cleans and how he sounds like a manlier version of Matthew Wright from The Getaway Plan. Opening track “Blood Red Sun” and the title track showcase his cleans best. Conversely, second track “In a Hole” demonstrates his harsh screaming ability, with his sneering screech featuring heavily in what is an appropriately aggressive song.
The guitar work by Jack Marr is impressive, particularly in the punk-infused “Stale”, which opens with a breakdown complete with china cymbal strikes courtesy of drummer Jared Lean. Marr is very talented, constantly switching tempos and intensity with the dexterity and ease of a seasoned professional. “Stale” is the best example of his string skills (especially that bitching solo), but he puts on a clinic in every song. Meanwhile, bass dude Lachlan Campbell and the aforementioned Lean provide the backbone that allows Marr and Smith to do their thing (Campbell also adds a much-needed low end to the sub-par mix).
Ultimately, Insomniatic isn’t a game changer. Frankly, I doubt that even the band believe they’ve completely reinvented the wheel. The mix isn’t great either, but none of that matters because Insomniatic is awesome. It’s a debut EP, for Christ’s sake. I’ve listened to this EP about six or seven times now and not only am I not sick of it yet, I’m enjoying it more with every replay. It’s nothing too far left of centre, but if they’re chucking out stuff this good at this point in their career, they’ll be headlining rooms in very short order.