Hiatus – Out of Hand
Legendary Hiatus return with Out of Hand, a powerful blend of melodic crust punk and enduring political message, marking a vibrant continuation of their '90s legacy.
Hiatus is one of those bands that hardly needs any introduction. These Belgian crustcore legends not only influenced a whole new generation of politically-charged, anarchist leanings bands, but also created their own unique brand of fierce and lyrically militant crust punk, playing with other cult bands of the scene such as Agathocles, Doom, Extreme Noise Terror and many others.
Out of Hands, released by the powerhouse of a DIY label that is Ruin Nation Records in April 2023, contains twelve new tracks and one re-recorded track (“Destroy Me”). The record showcases a new approach to songwriting—with more melodic parts and dark, doomy guitar harmonies (similar to what From Ashes Rise or Tragedy were doing years ago), but the overall vicious and old-school spirit of the band’s early releases is very much alive. As this is their first release since 1996, the band delivers a sound that is surprisingly tight, compact, and most importantly, up to date. Some might even call the release “Neocrust”, although I think that’s a rather useless term, at least for a band like this.
The album starts rather melodic, with lingering guitar harmonics, a very tight rhythm section and shouty and aggressive vocal parts that display a wide array of techniques—from lower growls to shrieks and more typical crust “singing”. They sound as energetic and vibrant as ever! As I mentioned, Hiatus have definitely upped their game in terms of songwriting. The more fiercer parts mix perfectly with the more melodic ones and even though the album sounds modern, it strongly carries that ’90s crust punk vitality that older fans yearn for. The excellent recording and mixing by Gerald Jans at Noise Factory and the great mastering by Jack Control at Enormous Door definitely do the long-awaited album a big favor in terms of atmosphere and sound, which is very modern and compact, but still manages to be DIY. It is a perfect mix of what modern technology can do when used by the right engineers. And it certainly keeps that ’90s spirit alive throughout the record.
It is definitely a challenging record at first—but once you get immersed in the atmosphere of Out of Hand, especially the absolutely beautiful guitar work and solos, you soon realize that this material is a logical continuation of what Hiatus have always been able to achieve in the minds and ears of the listener—powerful political messages delivered with utter musical brutality and earnestness. It seems that all these years of inactivity haven’t affected their ability to create such inspiring anthems of an endless struggle against authority and all the injustices it produces.
Music like this is a testament to the fact that art can be a very powerful means of protest and inspire people to make changes in their local communities, in their lives, and most importantly—in their own minds and beliefs. It seems that Hiatus have lost none of the power, anger and ferocity for which they were universally acclaimed in the anarcho-punk/crust/grind scene of the ’90s. Not only that, but they have managed to deliver an upgraded version of their classic sound, with more melody and impeccable guitar solos, while still retaining their trademark crust-grind aggression and brutal strife for militancy and political change lyrically. There seems to be a lot of new things coming from Hiatus, and as big fans of the band, we can’t wait to see where their journey takes them.