While the world of metal has no shortage of bands clouding the scene, very few have the same tenacity and grit as HAWK. On December 4th, HAWK released their debut EP, Tolerance’s Paradox. Formerly known as This Or The Apocalypse, original members Ricky Armellino and Jack Esbenshade joined forces with Bernard Stabley and Adam Reed and released their first single “Mileage” under their new moniker back in 2019. With a cohesive concept and an intricate approach to metal, HAWK has established themselves as a band to not be slept on.
The project was a completely DIY effort, with the band doing the production and mixing themselves, along with mastering by Andreas Magnusson and additional revamping from Ryan Leitru. To take it even further, the band also released music videos with the help of their friends, making the creation and release of this EP the perfect collaboration. With all hands-on deck, HAWK was able to not only release the music they wanted to, but to ensure it was done exactly how they wanted it to be.
The concept of the “tolerance paradox” is based on the notion that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant will eventually be destroyed by the intolerant. To elaborate further, the idea is that to maintain a tolerant society, society must be intolerant of intolerance. In today’s climate, with tension and injustice at its height, this EP couldn’t have come at a better time. Their music video for the opening track “CLVRMFKR” was the perfect way to set the stage for what’s to come. The video depicts a protest fighting back against a corrupt system, including police in riot gear with little blurbs of safety and health tips on how to combat situations like tear gas and bullet wounds. The video was a clever way to draw parallels to the very real issues we face in fighting against injustice and intolerance and the importance of arming yourself with the knowledge of what’s going on and how to stay safe when joining the fight.
Lines like “the paradoxes of all your tolerances, you hate something just enough and you might fix it” define the overall concept for the EP and the notion of working towards having the courage to fight back. Once you decide “enough is enough”, that’s when real change can happen. “Counter Ops” is definitely a standout track. It plays out like a call to arms, especially the line “if a sergeant thinks you disobeyed him then he’s going to fuck up your esophagus”. It’s about being complacent in the face of injustice and taking a stand. It’s a hell-raiser that lights a fire, igniting the desire to speak out and take action– especially for those that have faced, and continue to face, the worst of the intolerance at hand.
The EP is a powerful depiction of the want for change, regarding human rights, racial equality, and everything in-between. Their fury is palpable and in-your-face, and that’s exactly how it should be. One of the biggest strengths HAWK has going for them are their lyrical prowess and musicianship. Their ability to deliver a well-composed song with the combination of their lyricality and the fire behind their instruments come together to create a Molotov cocktail of beauty and destruction. Each song hits you where it hurts in the best way possible. It’s not an album that you have to listen to more than once to appreciate it, you hit repeat because it’s just that good.
Going back to the theory of the paradox of tolerance, it states that you can counter intolerance with rationality and keep it in check, but that we hold the right to suppress that intolerance by any means necessary, even by force. This is the perfect description of this EP as it’s a clear force to be reckoned with. HAWK solidified themselves as a top player in metal and that this is only the beginning for them. To check out HAWK's new EP Tolerance’s Paradox, you can stream below & check out their website hawkdotcom.com for more.
Written & reviewed by Mikayla Anderson
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