Change is perhaps the biggest challenge a band can face. Everyone loves the out-of-nowhere debut or is impressed when a band avoids the sophomore slump, but when real longevity is achieved musicians often find themselves feeling less and less like the people they were on their early records. For some bands this impending need for change is insurmountable. Hundredth is not one of those bands.
With the release of their third full length, 2015’s vitriolic tour de force, Free, Hundredth had finally accomplished all that they could within the relatively restrictive boundaries of hardcore music. They’d given all they possibly could to the genre and were beginning to feel creatively stifled. Completely disinterested and disenchanted by the constrictive walls of their own sound and scene, Hundredth was faced with a self-imposed ultimatum: evolve or cease to be a band. Never ones to shy away from risk, the band dove headfirst into re-inventing themselves. The result is Hundredth’s fourth full-length RARE — an album that contains very little remnants of what came before but preserves the band’s forward-thinking spirit. These 12 tracks reveal the sound of a fearless band exploring new territory, revitalizing their creativity, and propelling themselves into a thrilling future.
Shedding their past and all of it’s restrictions left Hundredth with the freedom to create the music they’d always wanted. Leaning heavily into their love of shoegaze, dream pop, and post-punk, the band combined lush anglophile influences with their innate heaviness and energy, creating an album that seamlessly ebbs and flows between aggression and beauty. Dense walls of rolling distortion collide with crisp drums or melt into subdued atmospherics, all while vocalist Chadwick Johnson’s reverb-drenched vocals float overtop, more dynamic and cathartic than his past screams. Even Johnson’s lyrics seem to follow more esoteric paths, touching on reclusion and a desire to escape, nodding to the creative and social isolation felt within the band’s now past life.
Some may question Hundredth’s decision to evolve. Why fix what wasn’t broken? Why put everything they’ve built on the line? Why leave behind the sound that got them this far? These kinds of questions quickly become irrelevant when one listens to RARE. Hundredth’s desire to truly follow their own path led to a sound that is all theirs, with RARE standing independently as a distinct melding of influence, instinct, and the desire to push boundaries that’s fueled the band from day one. This isn’t a new band; this is passionate, this is heavy, this is dark, vulnerable, volatile, and beautiful. This is Hundredth.