Hiding Goliath – Out Of Sync

 Hiding Goliath – Out Of Sync

Hiding Goliath – Out Of Sync – EP Review

What’s with all the shouting?  We can hear ya just fine Hiding Goliath.

I’m kidding, of course.  Y’all do what you wanna do, make the music you wanna make, and if that requires a bit of extra volume to accomplish the mission, then clearly so be it.  Hiding Goliath has just released a new five song EP that is full of that good-good shouting you deviants want.  Think of it like the audio equivalent of the drill sergeant you never had, but really probably should have.  Assuming you’ve got no major issues between the rawness of Punk or Hardcore sounds out there, chances are you’ll find enough here on the Out Of Sync EP to make it worth your while.  Heck, you might even like it.

For myself personally, sure…no real obstacles that’d stop me from listening to something like Hiding Goliath.  Honestly, the biggest challenge that this EP presents me with is that this band is rocking with a sound I don’t come across as much out there in the scene right now, making it so that every time I switched over to Hiding Goliath as I listened this week was like getting kicked in the face with sound by comparison to the rest of what I was checking out.  It happens…that’s the life of a music critic that listens to everything under the sun.  We listen, we adjust, we listen again, wash, rinse, repeat.

As “Alone” started up the record, there were a couple things that stood out to me right away.  Well, three things precisely if you’re the type of people that need statements to be mathematically accurate.  First and foremost, the guitar tones…we’ve got some genuinely badass shit happenin’ from the gritty work on the axe, and in behind all the yelling, you can hear there’s some serious skill to be found there in that aspect of the instrumentation.  I’m not hearing any notable issues with the rhythm section, it’s just not the feature element is all.  Secondly – the vocals.  YES THIS DUDE WANTS YOU TO HEAR WHAT HE’S SINGING LIKE HE’S WRITTEN OUT HIS LYRICS IN ALL-FREAKIN’-CAPS AND NEEDS TO MAKE SURE HE’S THE LOUDEST DUDE IN THE ROOM…but to be truthful, I’m actually cool with it.  You (seven) regular readers know that I just wanna hear confidence in what you do when it comes time to push record, and this dude has plenty of it.  “Alone” becomes an anthem for self-isolation when you hit the main chorus hooks of this song, and sure…as a willing curmudgeon myself, obviously I can get behind that.  Thirdly, I thought the backing vocals were actually brilliant, both in the sound of what we hear, and within the placement of where they show up on this savage first experience with Hiding Goliath’s music.  It’s very bare bones in terms of the whole guitar, bass, drums, vocals combo…you could potentially argue there’s still a lot of room to do a bit more inside of the material…perhaps…but if you’re looking at the roots of the Hardcore/Punk genres, you’ll know that something like this is really true to form, even the shouting.

Where I think that Hiding Goliath can potentially run into some issues later on down the road revolves around variation and whether or not the perception of listeners out there will feel like there’s enough of it.  “Cancer” shows a bit of diversity in the verses, but with the chorus we’re talkin’ about nearly the same approach as we heard in “Alone.”  Nothing majorly wrong with that of course…again, do what you like…most people probably won’t even notice – just assholes like me.  You get that nearly Hip-Hop half-shout/half-rap approach to the vocals in the verses…which…I dunno, I don’t think I really have much of an opinion on that Nu-Metal-esque thing…I was around when it became popularized in music, and I still get its appeal to the masses out there to this day.  In terms of Hiding Goliath, I’m probably more inclined to side with it being alright, because I actually like the lyricism in this band.  When you get stuff that’s more akin to Rap, clearly you get a few more words, and with more words able to be used, I think the advantage goes to Hiding Goliath in that regard.  Solid definition in the bass on “Cancer” and the guitar still remains my favorite aspect of what I hear…but I gotta admit, the full-frontal attack in the main hooks of “Cancer” proves there’s something here in Hiding Goliath.  It’s RAW AF at the moment, but considering it’s just their second record, that’s more than fine…the right pieces are in place here overall.  I think the ties to Nu-Metal will certainly be something that broadens their appeal even further with the masses, and I dig that the backing vocals actually give their sound this like, early-Offspring edge to it.

Confidence is an appealing thing when it comes right down to it…Hiding Goliath is already punching well above their weight in that regard for as long as they’ve been around.  When it comes to “Parasite” I feel like I was being pushed & pulled in two directions.  On the one hand, I felt like lyrically, it’s some of the tightest writing you’ll find on the record…it’s clever, it’s cohesive, it works.  On the other hand, I felt like “Parasite” is the cut where we notice that thinness of the sound more-so than on the other cuts we hear.  A staple of Hardcore is treble UP…a staple of Nu-Metal is bass HEAVY…and “Parasite” is that track that seems to try and straddle both worlds when it comes to the actual style of song it is, without really committing enough to either genre.  Obviously NO ONE out there should really be all that concerned with shit like that, but it does make a difference on the listening end.  For myself personally, “Parasite” sounded like it needed just as much of an aggressive element coming in through the mix on the bass – and I feel like that, because the rest of the song seemed like it was calling out for that.  The rest is all there on the same page in that regard, vocals, guitars, drums…they’ve all got the advantage in this track and the right levels to sound like they’re on a unified front – but without a rumblin’ from the bass that is on par with the rest, it can appear that “Parasite” is more bare & less intense than perhaps it should be.  While that sounds like some kind of major buzzkill, I assure ya, it’s a minor observation that would easily be fixed by sliding some volume knobs back & forth…but having that low-end presence would be a massive benefit to the intensity and taking a track like “Parasite” to that next-level of enormity overall.  It all depends on the kind of band that Hiding Goliath wants to be at the end of the day…don’t get it twisted y’all…one of the craziest & most intense bands I’ve ever seen in my life didn’t even have a bass player.  Personally, I think they would have been potentially stronger with one when playing live, and they used one in their recorded work…but same thing, they kept the low-end aspect minimal.  Which is fine – all I’m saying is that more of a presence in the mix would make a song like “Parasite” sound even larger, and when you’re putting in a larger-than-life performance, then shouldn’t the sound match that?  It can also free up some of the players to go even further, without feeling like the whole sound drops out…and giving the guitar in Hiding Goliath more options to work with could only ever be a great thing.

Keep in mind, I know absolutely nothing about Hiding Goliath either…this could all be one dude playing to his main strengths for all I know – there’s barely any information out there online on this band right now.  Facebook page was deleted some time ago…you can find them on Bandcamp, which will reveal the first EP and the fact that Hiding Goliath made their debut nearly seven years ago…but other than that, I really don’t know much.  There’s a twitter page that’ll describe the band as “Rage Against The Machine + Three Days Grace – some talent = Hiding Goliath,” (which is actually quite clever even if it doesn’t sound remotely accurate to me from this new EP) & show ya that they’re from Philadelphia, an Instagram page without any posts on it at the time of writing this review…and other than that, all we really know is that seven years is a really long damn time to stay away.  Hiding Goliath sounds like it’s got enough energy within its sound to power the electricity in your tiny village through the next cold winter…so I think it’s fair to say this project is happy to be back in action, even if it sounds angry AF.  Anyhow.  Look – “Die” is the single from this particular EP if Hiding Goliath is gonna have one.  Does that mean I think it’s the best track on the record?  Absolutely not.  I’m simply saying that it’s got the most potential to draw in listeners and has the most accessibility to it, that’s all.  I’m not a huge fan of the way the rhyme scheme of the verses is so rigid…I’m not as jazzed on the lyricism in those parts either – BUT – I do think they pack in a nuclear payload in the transition to the chorus (which is actually where the main hooks of this song live through the guitar), and the chorus itself works well.  These songs are freakishly short when it comes right down to it…and there’s a lot about the instrumentation and kickass guitar tones of “Die” that you’ll hear scattered throughout this song that would have made for a great three or four-minute song.  As it stands, at two minutes, there’s stuff I love (guitars/chorus), stuff I don’t (verses/Nu-Metal vibes gettin’ in the way), and a metric ton of potential here for Hiding Goliath to shift the sound of this particular track more towards an Alt/Indie vibe…think like, something along the lines of like, Superchunk and how they create that wildly addictive intensity & energy that fuels their records.  At this point though, I’ll fully admit, Hiding Goliath has grown on me enough to not really complain either – I like what I hear on “Die,” I just feel like I’m also hearing the potential for it to be more than it already is.  At the end of the day, the wicked guitar tones in this track are worth the price of admission for me.

The title-track on this EP is nearly twice the length of any other cut, clocking in at just shy of four minutes total.  You get a glimpse of what Hiding Goliath could do with the extra time, which works a bit for and against them on this last track from the new record.  On the brighter side of the scenario, you get those savage guitar tones you probably love as much as I do if you’re still listening, and the confidence in this material has never wavered for even a second in the performances you’ll find on the Out Of Sync EP.  You also find the band with an opportunity for a significant breakdown, which makes for a really rad moment in “Out Of Sync” as well…definitely something I’d encourage them to explore even more, and the kind of thing you can really only do in tracks that are longer than two-plus minutes.  It allows the opportunity for more performance-minded aspects to come out – like, even when you listen to how the timing/vocals work at the very beginning of this track, you’ve gotta admire the fact that you can instantly recognize “Out Of Sync” as a much more ambitious tune in that regard.  Usually, the reality is, you’re trading a bit of innovation for accessibility, and/or throwing your audience off a little bit as you switch things up…but the benefits of stretching your wings creatively like Hiding Goliath does on “Out Of Sync” is practically priceless y’all.  These are the kind of cuts that lead to significant breakthroughs you couldn’t achieve otherwise, and sends them towards that all-important next-level, no matter what they decide to do with their music next.  And what is that…even a keyboard part in the mix here?  You get the idea – “Out Of Sync” gives you more to listen to, because it’s doing more…even my own rudimentary math is able to figure out that formula.  I still think the backing vocals really remind me of The Offspring…but I like that.  I dig the GIANT chip that’s on Hiding Goliath’s shoulder, and ultimately, I’d tell ya this band played this record like it had something to prove, even if it was only that this project wasn’t dead.  “How should I feel, what should I think?” – HEY!  I’M the critic here – that’s MY job to figure that out.  I’m inclined to say that I feel like this band SHOULD continue, and that I think that it WILL.  There’s a lot here to work with as the blueprint for their future to follow, and lots to keep ya entertained & listening to them right now.

Find Hiding Goliath at Spotify here:  https://open.spotify.com/artist/0MxMTIwnTgQeJCUhOB1Fzg

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