Aggressive, dark and apocalyptic potential swansong from Yorkshire-based hardcore ska-punks Random Hand.
Having gifted the world with their politically-charged blend of punk, ska and metal over the last 13 years, Random Hand’s latest offering Hit Reset must come as something of a bittersweet arrival for their fans. Smashing all previous PledgeMusic records, the album comes just a few months after the band announced an indefinite hiatus to work out some internal issues, playing their final show at the Camden Underworld alongside Sonic Boom Six, Faintest Idea and River Jumpers on 13th September. So the question remains: will Hit Reset be the triumphant send off that the fans deserve, or will it be a sour end to an exceptional career?
Hit Reset certainly kicks off the bangs, with opener ‘Day One’ beginning on a tense, minimalist note before bursting into a furious torrent of yells, pounding drums and distorted guitars. There is no pause for respite as Random Hand just dive straight in, which is well suited to a band of their ilk. The group return to what is arguably more familiar territory with the follow up, ‘Death By Pitchforks,’ one of the best tracks on the album. Muscular trombone melodies and rapid-fire ska rhythms abound, it’s a surefire winner for any fan.
From hereon out, Random Hand manage to add enough variety between songs to keep things interesting without disrupting the flow of the album as a whole. Whether it be the furious groove of ‘Protect & Survive,’ the rallying call of ‘Maybe It’s A Prize’ or the almost playful ‘Abide,’ the sound of the band is solid and powerful, with no track feeling like an afterthought. The song structure generally plays with the juxtaposition of aggressive verses spat out with real venom and choruses that take a more melodic tone. For the most part, this works in Random Hand’s favour, keeping the focus tight throughout the course of the album. However, it’s not without it’s drawbacks, with the gruff lead and somewhat polished backing vocals at times failing to link up successfully.
“Random Hand manage to add enough variety between songs to keep things interesting without disrupting the flow of the album as a whole”
The lyrical content is particularly bleak, even by the band’s usual standards, perhaps a reflection on events behind the scenes. Far from affecting the album negatively, this adds a deep sense of authenticity and emotion to the words, with tyranny, oppression and rebellion all featuring heavily. That being said, they are not always perfect, with the refrain of “Fuck this shit, we’re doing it our way” during ‘Pack It Up’ seeming a little trite for a band of this maturity, dampening what is otherwise a real highlight for the album. This doesn’t manage to drag the whole album down, however, because as Hit Reset continues, we’re treated to more songs that easily stand up to some of Random Hand’s best, including ‘After The Alarm,’ ‘A Clean Slate’ and ‘As Loud As You Can.’
For what could be their last record, what Random Hand have achieved with ‘Hit Reset’ is highly commendable. This isn’t the work of a group going through the motions and churning out an album just for the sake of it. Instead, this is the sound a band who want to leave behind something their fans deserve and that they themselves can be proud of. It may not be end-to-end classics, the most profound lyrically or the most stylistically ambitious, but the pure drive and feeling put into it will make this album difficult to forget. This may be the last we hear from Random Hand, but Hit Reset will certainly set in stone that they were a band who stood true to their art till the very end, keeping their music alive for years to come.
Hit Reset is now available through Bomber Music. Buy it here