Random Hand – Hit Reset

Random Hand_RingMaster Review

Hands up, who also raised an expletive or two in disappointment when British punksters Random Hand announced earlier this year they were going on an indefinite hiatus to pursue other challenges in life? Well we can tell you now that the pain is going to get simultaneously better and worse thanks to the release of one of the band’s finest roars, final album Hit Reset. Whether it is because the decision has brought a freedom to the band in some way or it simply inspired a no holds barred energy to the creation of the twelve track storm as a last offering, but Hit Reset sees Random Hand at their most diverse, explosive, and passionate best with a little something indefinably extra too.

It is thirteen years ago that the Keighley quartet leap onto the British rock scene with their energetic and dynamic fusion of punk, ska, hardcore, and metal. The time since, has seen Random Hand earn the reputation as one of the UK’s best live encounters at home and further afield, and a host of varied and generally fiercely impacting releases. Now following a final flurry of shows this past summer, it all comes to an ‘end ‘ with the PledgeMusic funded Hit Reset; a giant slice of non-stop anthems which goes with the adages, “go out on a high” and “leave them wanting more”.

Random Hand - Hit Reset_RingMaster Review     Day One is the first encounter upon Hit Reset, its opening tinnitus of percussion amidst a tangy melody tempting enough but the mere appetiser to the explosion of punk metal ferocity and riffs driven by recognisable hardcore energised vocals matched in virulent strength by their clean harmonic counterparts. The swings of drummer Sean Howe seem to have new tenacity and aggression whilst the bass of Joe Tilston could just be at its most grouchy and compelling ever. It might be that ears are interpreting things in hope’s and assumption’s desired way but as the guitar of Dan Walsh weaves a web of antagonism and infection with intense enterprise and energy, that sense of freedom is a swift wonder.

As great as the opener is, the following Death By Pitchforks eclipses it with its strolling ska swing and relentless bounce. Juicy flames of trombone from Robin Leitch shoot across the addiction whilst vocals from him and the rest of the band are again as inescapably persuasive an incitement as the sounds hugging their alluring tones. It is a track which has body, emotions, and soul in relentless involvement, much as its successor Protect & Survive with its growling fury of Bad Religion tinged punk metal and a climax to arouse an empty room, and straight after If I Save Your Back… and its adrenaline powered punk ‘n’ roll stomp. The latter song also slips into some evocative dub/ska imagination and hardcore ire to add extra spice to the bracing revelry.

After The Alarm steps up next and soon forges another pinnacle for the album, its brass seared blaze and riotous stroll instant infection whipped up to greater potency by the choppy texture of riffs and the raw Reuben like contagion flying through ears for another richly inciting chorus. The track is glorious, definite final single candidate and alone a massive reason why Random Hand are going to be sorely missed; though every track upon Hit Reset spawns that feeling, Dead No Longer with its raucous thunder and Maybe It’s A Prize through its again Reuben spiced rapacity swift confirmation.

Dragging an eager body to the floor again, Pack It Up leaps and bounds into the imagination and an already lively ardour with its ska/punk ingenuity next, it too a track to whip up old and new fans alike with its busy and eventful collusion of styles and open passion.

A Clean Slate straight after is rock ‘n’ roll plain and simple, a boisterous call to arms for thoughts and bodies but a song unafraid to suddenly whip the floor from under the listener and take them through a melodic oasis of sound and tempting before entering an even more agitated and fearsome storm. It is a seriously invigorating proposition wonderfully contrasted by the addictive ska swing and rock groove of Abide which in turn makes way for more variety in the rip-roaring alternative rock/punk ‘n’ roll of Shelter As A Verb, both tracks a quick making addiction.

Closing with the no less irresistible As Loud As You Can, a song as post-hardcore as it bluesy, as punk and ska as it is old school rock ‘n’ roll, Hit Reset is a band at the height of its game, a game now sadly being put away in mothballs for a distant or possibly no further outing. Random Hand has left us with a classic though, an album which will continue to incite and excite in their absence. What a way to go!

Hit Reset is available digitally and on CD now through Bomber Music @ https://random-hand.bandcamp.com/album/hit-reset

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Pete RingMaster 05/10/2015

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