Run With The Hunted – self-titled (album)
Start as you mean to go on: on their eponymous first album, Run With The Hunted do just that. It also helps if a precedent has been set: you’ll have heard a lot of hardcore records do what ‘Introspective’, the first track, accomplishes here. Fading in with simple lead and some faintly glitchy effects alongside whispered vocals, it builds in volume but restrains its speed, keeping the guitars slow and sinister and the drums big and rolling, the vocals becoming more energetic until several men are straining their vocal chords. And then it ends, before ‘Magna Cum Laude’ kicks in, opening with feedback and full-speed-ahead drumming.
It’s a trick that crops up a lot because it works; that first track sets an emotional tone to establish the mood of the record that follows, and it does so a lot more effectively than pushing straight ahead at people with a breakneck tune. Fortunately it’s also a trick that – if you even notice it – isn’t objectionable provided it’s done well. Do Run With the Hunted’ manage this? Well, yes; although ‘Magna Cum Laude’ isn’t their strongest track the initial shift in pace is jarring enough to deliver a quick, mild shock to the system, and structurally it moves around enough to keep things interesting, particularly when it becomes more moody towards its close and throws multiple vocals at you – they’re not well-synchronised and this sloppiness works perfectly.
There are tracks that, whilst not terrible, are pretty skippable. ‘Sycophant’ doesn’t do anything particularly new, but if you’ve a fondness for metalcore then its short length makes it a tolerable diversion between better songs. In fact, it sits between ‘Double Zero’, an impressively speedy tune with a moody breakdown and some huge, crunchy riffs, and ‘Occam’s Tazor’, a song that packs plenty into its two and a half minutes including well-judged vocal effects & rhythmically matching tremolo guitar alongside an aggressive melody that recalls Modern Life Is War’s finest moment, ‘D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S.’
This sense of mismatch persists throughout the album; when it hits, it really hits and leaves you reeling, but elsewhere its attempts at pummelling intensity feel like aimless flailing. This may seem a little harsh but it’s clear from song of the tracks on offer that Run With The Hunted are capable of writing and playing some great songs with a lot more variety than many other such outfits, and so when a duller track comes along it’s more obvious that what this album delivers is uneven. Still, I’d recommend checking it out because as I say the good tracks really are good.