Just as before with Mid-Evil, (the more rap orientated project from the same artist) the cover of this latest release from Hider suggests something altogether more brutal and bombastic. Not that it doesn’t have plenty of those sort of moments but the music found on ThoughLoops is always tempered with more well-crafted and seductive sounds, unexpected genre-hopping interludes and supple and subtle sonic tricks. But, forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and having learnt a valuable lesson about judging books by their covers last time around, or more properly albums by their artwork, in I go.

WENEEDSOMESPACE greets the sonic explorer, a blend of cavernous guitars and sonar-like electronic pulses, the sound of the Nu-Metal experiment being re-run for a more modern, more discerning audience and then immediately after this Misery Machine takes the same beat, the same vibe and boils it down to its very essence before ramping things back up. From their it switches between crunching metal riffs and a sort of ambient, drifting futurism. Cool.

The oddly yet awesomely titled Like Venom From A Snake, But It’s Not A Snake, It’s You not only helps get me closer to the word count requirements of this review (I’m kidding) but reminds us that as subversive and adventurous as Hider’s sound might be, it has a progressive metal heart, which in turn tips its hat back at 90’s Nu-Metal, which gives a knowing nod to alt-rock, which is just another strand of rock and roll, at the end of the day. Everything is rock and roll and even though Like Venom… (see it’s not all about word count) is a thoroughly modern take on it, it ticks all the same boxes for grunt and groove, riff and rhythm, energy and euphoria.

Somewhere Out There is a wonderfully unpredictable collection of on-off energy, rising washes of sonic power and luscious musical lulls, spoken-word interludes, dark forces and subverted electronica. The album ends with the loose hip-hop groove of How To Scare A Ghost, urban music as heard through a gothic filter, dark, delicious, deft and, in places, delicate. (Not a word you hear much used in reviews of this type of music.)

Like Rexide before, Hider has given us something as unexpected as it is satisfying. And it’s an album that is going to tick a lot of boxes for a whole host of more discerning music fans. Metallers with love the weight and sheer power, goths the dark tones and eldritch textures and more traditional rockers will revel in the melodic groove which runs through its core. But beyond that, the electronic experimentation and generic gene-slicing mean that its wide-ranging appeal will extend to more broad-minded urban fans and even those dance aficionados who are looking for something beyond the usual style over substance, quick hit, throwaway beats of the mainstream and are ready to embrace some hard-as-hell-haunted-House Music.

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