Hackneyed is a bunch of kids. That, apparently, is the selling point for this band. Do not be fooled, you should not buy an album because it’s 16 year-olds who made that record. That’s retarded and should be avoided. That said, Hackneyed should probably be checked out by you for another reason: while the record starts out slowly, Burn After Reaping turns out to be a very good.
OK, Hackneyed isn’t exactly the second coming of any of the classics, and their sound might not be the world’s most original and unique, but they’re damn good. I guess the best way to describe Burn After Reaping is to say that it sounds like a mix between some of the modern groove stuff, with some classic death metal liberally sprinkled with Hypocrisy. They blend this sound convincingly, piecing together a powerful record made up of a lot of mid-paced groove, but also a surprising amount of very well thought out melody on the guitars.
It took me a while to get into this album, I’ve gotta say. The first few listens for me weren’t very convincing. While I didn’t think it was pretty terrible or anything, I wasn’t convinced. However, after about my 4th listen, the record started to grow on me. The simplicity of a lot of the tracks and the funeral doom like slowness which shows up, particularly in the second half of the album, definitely spoke to me. I found myself coming back to this album because I wanted to listen to it, not because I had to develop an opinion on it, and that’s about the best thing that I can say for this album, too. It pulled me in with smart writing from some 16 year-olds (hence the selling point).
I have a couple of complaints, of course. First, the drum tone is bad, particularly the bass drum. I know that Hackneyed is not the first band to suffer from this totally shitty triggered tone (and if it isn’t triggered, then.. wow, it’s just terribly produced) and they’ll definitely not be the last: but I beg producers to stop it. Secondly, some of the lyrics were a little bit embarrassing.. including the “meat” references (Weed Flavoured Meat and Home Meat Home being two of the songs), but those I can live with because the band is still performing very convincingly.
Other than those minor squabbles, I thought this record was pretty darn good. And, frankly, if it wasn’t for the first two or three songs it would be an even better record, partially due to the excellent flow. Once you make it to the “March of the Worms,” “Bloodshed,” and “Redying,” these guys are so deep into their groove that you don’t want to listen until the last anguished scream on the record has ceased.