Hadouken! - For the Masses

by Rich Morris Rating:4 Release Date:2010-01-25

Emerging in 2007 to rock a hitherto untapped noise comprised of new rave synth honk, grime clatter and nu metal bluster, Hadouken! were at least different even if their attention deficit, smash and grab assault seemed designed to confuse and upset anyone over 20. Judging by this second album, they seem to have settled happily into making the kind of bullish, testosterone-pumped techno/rock peddled by The Prodigy. Everything about For the Masses, from that baldly grandstanding title onwards, is blunt. First track 'Rebirth' begins with an ominous electro thump, muffled like its coming from your neighbour's house at two in the morning, before evolving into a hard-as-nails techno maelstrom which manages to be momentously portentous and somewhat tinny at exactly the same time.

It's not an attractive noise, but to give Hadouken! their due, they obviously know exactly the sound they want to achieve. Singer James Smith has got one hell of a Wiley impersonation going on, all mightier-than-thou spittle and menace. The music, meanwhile, has precisely two modes: sulky and full-on strop. There's an almost Stalinist lack of dynamics. And yet the band manage to produce some impressive variations from such a limited palette, often within the same song. Single 'Turn the Lights Out' would work as a sure-fire floor-filler from Fabric to any teen metal night. And it's not a huge stretch of the imagination to conceive 'Evil', with its dirty-as-sin techno beat and hammering chorus, laying siege to the UK charts.

For the Masses is willful, stupid, antisocial and very possibly sociopathic. It harbours delusions of grandeur while railing against its own powerlessness. Basically, it is the soundtrack playing in every teenage boy's head. No pretty, then, but possibly very lucrative.

Richard Morris

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