I continue to be blown away by the huge number of incredibly talented bands and artists making music these days. And whoever claimed rock was dead just isn’t listening! And so I turn my spotlight to Shikobi, who play a powerful mix of edgy – and often topical – alternative hard rock, hip-hop, grunge and funk.
The band started out as a duo at the beginning of 2014, with Australian brothers Aaron and Luke Hession writing songs and playing local clubs, and within a year they were selling out larger venues as the headliner act. The brothers relocated to Los Angeles in early 2015, and by that April, enlisted drummer Dylan Hayden and bassist Marco Barrientos to complete the band’s lineup. Both Aaron and Luke sing and play guitar. Since then, Shikobi has steadily built a following in the U.S.
They’ve now released their debut EP Pull The Trigger, containing four red-hot tracks that showcase the band’s dynamic rap-infused hard rock sound, backed by heavy, explosive guitars and speaker-blowing percussion. Listening to their songs, it’s immediately clear they were influenced by Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Shikobi quickly establishes that they mean business with the lead single “Here We Go Again.” The track bursts open with pounding drums and blistering guitars. Anyone who follows my blog knows I’m a sucker for awesome, hard-driving guitar riffs, and this song has them in spades. These guys wield their guitars like weapons, shredding, pummeling and distorting the sound waves. Aaron’s raw vocals match the intensity of the music – he rapid-fire raps one moment, then practically snarls his lyrics the next. Take a listen to this firecracker:
The title track “Pull The Trigger” is a hard-hitting anthem addressing an issue the band feels strongly about – gun control and the lack of gun laws in the U.S. A complex, discordant arrangement with furious, gnashing guitars and thunderous drums perfectly evoke the troubling seriousness of the subject. Luke’s impassioned vocals are chilling in their ferocity. “We’re never gonna stop this happening, until the gun laws get changed again. There’s too many people with twisted minds. Too many people to commit these crimes… What’s it going to take, until we make a change.” The guitars on this track are positively monumental.
Slower in pace than the first two tracks, “Alive” and “Fight To Be Free” still feature the band’s signature killer guitars and heavy percussion. Throw in Aaron and Luke’s fervent, soaring vocals, and you’ve got two highly-compelling in-your-face songs. “Alive” has a distinct Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe, while Rage Against the Machine is evident in the politically-charged protest song “Fight to be Free.”
Pull the Trigger is an excellent debut from a very promising band of talented musicians who know how to play awesome hard rock. Show Shikobi support by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud. Their EP will soon be available for purchase on iTunes and other online music sites.