When you think about the Caribbean island of Trinidad hard-hitting, frenetic metal meets rock’n’roll is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, but Hail The Hatter are out to change all of that.
With commanding vocals that evoke memories of rock greats like Ozzy Osbourne and Axl Rose, big chunky riffs and huge guitar solos this band has the lot in a style they describe as “fun, headbanging and frenetic.”
The quartet began when Jonathan Boos (vocals), and Dax Cartar (Guitars) met a couple of years ago and swiftly realised they had the same outlook on modern rock having lost its edge and sense of irreverence. They recuited Aaron Lowchewtung (bass) and Nicholai Assam (drums) and set out on a mission to reinvent the passion and vigour of rock.
As the band tell us: “Musicians were so preoccupied with being taken seriously that they had forgotten what made rock music popular in the first place. So we decided to form a band that would show that viruosity could exist alongside fun and irreverence.
“As a band we don’t try to adhere to any modern conventions of how rock music is supposed to sound. We write what we enjoy, and what we believe will create that headbanging energy. Because of that when you listen to our music, sometimes it sounds modern, sometimes you hear hints of old style Rock music. But no matter what you’re smiling and having fun.”
The band’s influences are pretty clear, Jonathan learned at the altar of Ozzy – having been backstage at an Ozzy Osbourne show then Black Sabbath’s farewell gig in Madison Square – Dax grew up worshipping Slash but is now going through a Guthrie Govan phase, Aaron and Nicholai play everything from rock to jazz, but they’re united in a common love for Pantera.
They’ve just released debut album Discovering Light, and it’s a pretty special debut effort. After a little intro track they dive into Bone Grin, which kicks off with a big fat bassline and fast-paced bursts of guitar then feeds into a frenzied guitar riff and a big scream that leads into a fast-paced opening verse. A cry of “I see your bone grin” gives way to a big chorus of drawn-out vocals “You don’t know what the truth is, You speak only lies, You can’t see the pain I’m in, You can’t see my eyes” then another blast of funky guitar riffs. Another verse follows with crying guitar bursts in the background, then a huge, ridiculously good guitar solo takes centre stage. It’s an awesome opening to the album.
The album continues in the same vein, chocked full of awesome riffs, including the excellent A.O.A.U (Shalini’s Song), which opens with a funky little chilled out intro then a chunky riff that flows into a very GnR esque verse with big high-pitched vocals. Another verse gives way to a huge fast-paced solo, which drops into a few funky guitar riffs that bring the track to an end.
That’s followed by White Walls, which begins with spoken words “There are voices in my head, can you hear them?” then a delicious dirty guitar riff. Big vocals kick in over crying guitar bursts then big “woh-oh” wailing vocals act as a bridge into a second verse. Laughing noises give way to another huge high-pitched guitar solo, then chugging guitars and cymbals support more intense vocals, then a very Ozzy-esque section of “SOS my story ends, I’ll introduce you to all of my friends, Shiny pills, Electro shock therapy, Care to join me, Who needs energy?” followed by more of the “Woh-oh” vocals.
Following track Akasha features an awesome guitar solo over a chunky bassline followed by a cheeky little bass solo that feeds into a heavy building guitar section and culminates into a big driving riff. Then final track Discovering Light signs the album off in a near nine minute epic.
It opens with a really cool prolonged cello solo, with light guitars gently creeping in then ends on an awesome guitar vs violin off. A juicy, stabby guitar riff kicks in and jumps into a big rocking intro that flows into a big singalong verse “There was a light inside me, There is a light yet I can’t see, I once was proud, head held high, And now my soul can no longer fly.”
The stabby guitar riff returns under cries of “Soul” then more intense vocals come in and give way to a sweeping guitar solo, which drops into the vocals “I know you love me, This much is true, But tat love is gone and so are you, I hear these words all around, And now I see my sould chained to the ground” followed by more cries of “Soul.” Huge screamed vocals kick in and give way to a huge guitar solo that drops into repeated descending riff then a huge scream over fast-paced guitars. The album then closes with a girl singing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” and a piano outro.
This is a pretty amazing debut album, full of energy, huge riffs and blazing solos that you can’t help but love. On the album, Jonathan tells us: “Each song is different. It all depends on what any member of the band is feeling inspired by that day. But the one central thing that drives us is to create music that makes you want to pump your fist, bang your head, and have a great rock and roll time.
“(We want) to continue creating music we are proud of, and to get as many people to hear it as possible. We really are our best on a stage, so we want to travel and share that experience. A band is like a family with all of the good and bad that comes with it. But if it works it truly is a brotherhood, and there is nothing like the creative process.
Jonathan has some interesting views on modern music, on which he said: “The music industry has changed completely. Right now it is easier than ever for bands to get their stuff out there. But what needs to happen now is that traditional radio has to die. Once internet radio becomes more popular with the masses it will be a new golden age of music. Traditional radio has become stagnant and dictates what people hear instead of people establishing their own opinions.”
And, for any UK booking agents out there, he added: “We would love to get too the UK. If we could find a booking agent to help us we will be there in a heartbeat. So if any agents are reading this, please hit us up.”