HAWXX – Earth, Spit, Blood and Bones
Release Date: 03/11/2023
Running Time: 34:21
Review by Rory Bentley
I had the pleasure of being on live review duties for the rather excellent Uprising festival in Leicester when I first encountered multinational Alt-Metal quartet HAWXX. They tore through a fired-up set of slamming riffs, big choruses and acerbic, socially conscious lyrics that proved to be a huge highlight on a bill full of huge highlights. As a result, I jumped at the chance to get my grubby mitts on their debut album, having binged the EPs and singles available at the time. Now the day is finally here and I’m delighted to say that the promise and potential of that superb live set has translated to “Earth, Spit, Blood and Bones.”
Bounding in with some bouncing low-tuned riffs and zero chill, ‘Death Makes Sisters Of Us All’ tackles the harrowing topic of the dangers to women on our streets. With the sting of Sarah Everard’s murder still fresh in the public consciousness here in the UK along with countless other cases, it is a song that bristles with indignant rage in a way that few songs have been capable of conjuring this year. There are many acts in the UK Alternative scene that address social issues head on, but the intensity and starkness of both the lyrics and Anna Papadimitriou’s caustic vocal delivery are another level of intense. The fact that such a difficult topic is made so palatable by slick songwriting and music worthy of any mosh pit is massively to the band’s credit, after all this is a message that should reach as many people as possible and with the greatest respect to the likes of Napalm Death, a big melodic banger is perhaps a more effective vehicle to accomplish this goal.
Speaking of absolute bangers, ‘The Worst Thing’ is up next and this song has been stuck in my head since April when I saw it performed. Again, the riffs go hard, the vocals are delivered with no small amount of swagger and there’s some ripping lead guitar to boot. The standout here though is the skyscraper chorus that drips with spite and shade- “The worst thing that I can wish for you is to remain just who you are”, which is an unbelievably salty line that I wish I had in my back pocket during my last breakup!
But hey, it’s not all raging social commentary and savage put-downs, there’s a lot of positivity and defiance on the album, which this burly Hardcore man approves of! ‘Embrace The Ugly’ focuses on both that familiar and important ethos of self-love and also fucking off society’s expectations of how you should behave, which of course is something firmly feminist yet still has universal appeal to everyone. Dedicating the song to the band’s fans, his is a ‘you hate me cos you aint me’ for all of us weirdos that found our happy place in the Rock and Metal community.
One aspect that blew me away from the HAWXX live experience was the quartet’s stunning close harmonies. This is an element that most makes its presence felt on stirring closer ‘Fathertongue’, providing a spine-tingling intro to a song that otherwise spends the rest of its runtime trying to kick your head in. I’d love to see this aspect of the band’s sound have a greater presence, either through a mix that highlights all 4 women’s voices more clearly, or a more pronounced effort to incorporate it into future compositions. Not really a complaint, just a cool element I’d like to see more of going forward.
Other highlights include the shimmering, almost Post-Rock Guitars on the anthemic and brooding ‘Soulbreaking Machines’, which accomplishes its rumination on the climate emergency and the ills of disaster capitalism with refined proficiency, showing once again that the band are capable of delivering their message with vehicles other than straight up fists and riffs. It still crackles with defiance, but it gives a pristine dose of Melodic Post-Hardcore that adds variety and depth to an already strong album.
As you can tell I pretty much love this album, but I’m even more excited to hear the next one. HAWXX have created an album with plenty to say that never comes across like it’s lecturing you. The band never forget that the primary objective for any Rock band is to fucking Rock, and what you have here is 10 life-affirming tracks that do just that!
01. Death Makes Sisters of Us All
02. The Worst Thing
04. Embrace the Ugly
05. Trust Your Rage
06. If Not Now Then When
09. Soulbreaking Machines
Anna Papadimitriou – vocals / guitars
Hannah Staphnill – guitars
Jessica Dann – drums
Julia B Cadau – bass
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.