The wait for The One Hundred’s debut album has been long and arduous. After their debut EP Subculture set scores of tongues wagging with its collision of grime, metalcore and electronica, the militant touring and festival appearances saw the London quartet build up steam that, towards the end of its run, left some believing that their sparse material meant they were unable to capitlise on. It’s a path that can be seen to drawn numerous parallels with Hacktivist – both fuse more contemporary hip-hop elements into their rap-metal; both released a critically-acclaimed EP that saw domination in the live environment; and both left a painfully lengthy gap between an EP and a debut album.
Thankfully – and in yet another comparison to Hacktivist – Chaos + Bliss is well worth the wait. Given the speed at which modern metal moves that could’ve left The One Hundred’s sound as dated before it’s properly established, there’s a sharp, cutting-edge focus to this album that lets it click with little fuss. A good reference point is Crossfaith, taking equal handfuls of metal and electronica and combining them to a point where neither is overshadowed by the other. But where it can be argued that that band have a tendency to struggle in the memorability department, particularly on their album Apocalyze, The One Hundred are already a tighter, more streamlined prospect. It’s a surprisingly versatile listen too – Disengage and Boomtown are built around elasticated, groove-heavy guitars that wouldn’t feel out of place on letlive.’s If I’m The Devil…, while Dark Matters‘ riffed-up drum ‘n’ bass carries some heavy hallmarks of Enter Shikari, and Dreamcatcher, Hand Of Science and the title track draw liberally from the more manic stripes of nu-metal and industrial metal, particularly in the case of the title track with its crushing, lockstep drums. Better still, nothing feels perfunctory in terms of instrumentation, as The One Hundred know how to properly modulate their sound to accentuate what’s needed at what point. Coupled with a production job that has a clear sheen, yet simultaneously gives the guitar tone some real crunch and sharpens the electronic and grime elements to the incisive points they benefit from most, and Chaos + Bliss has a crucial edge in terms of both modernity and power that a lot of bands miss the balance of.
It definitely helps that, as a frontman, Jacob Field manages to carry over a similar intensity. As well as the piercing shrieks that characterise his screams that alone have more identifiable presence and personality that the vast majority of similar vocalists, his assertive flows on Disengage and Feast keep the album moving at a fantastic pace while almost always hitting its target in terms of anger. As for what’s being said, it feels as though The One Hundred are definitely casting their net out further than before; for a band who have admitted to not being political in the past, Chaos + Bliss definitely seems more socially aware, whether it’s polemical calls for agency and to stand up against corruption on Disengage and Blackjack, to what feels like a jab at religion on Hand Of Science. Elsewhere, Chaos + Bliss is fuelled by inner thoughts and impulses, like the street-level confrontationalism of Monster and Feast, the shots against those gunning for fame only for the sake of being famous on Boomtown and the somewhat corny but endearing positive vibes of Who We Are Now. Where it arguably stumbles the most is in the title track, with the cheerleader chant on the chorus that could do with being fleshed out if it wasn’t as out of place as it already is, and the fact that there’s probably the highest propensity of lines that don’t quite scan (“Do I get over-wordy / Like I’m a nerd?”).
Really though, that’s a very isolated example, as Chaos + Bliss follows up on The One Hundred’s potential in a way that few could’ve imagined. This is not only a considerable step up for a band who seemed to be treading water for an unnecessarily long period of time, but also one of the more concise, precise forms of modern metal to come out in some time, showing each element in its best light and fusing them in a way that’s genuinely interesting and unique. At last The One Hundred have come out with a justification for their breakout band tag, and it couldn’t really be a better showcase of what they have to offer.
For fans of: Crossfaith, Enter Shikari, Hacktivist
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Chaos + Bliss’ by The One Hundred is released on 2nd June on Spinefarm Records.