Negativehate – ‘Shapeshifter’


Hailing from Western New York, the band Negativehate impress with a dynamic rock sound that traverses into the realms of metal, post-rock, and prog/jazz hybrids. Described as “less esoteric than previous efforts,” by producer and co-guitar/vocalist Chuck Scandura, their latest album Shapeshifter impresses in its balancing of melodic immediacy with creative, spontaneous stylistic pursuits.

Opening track “Infinity Bias” touts a moody guitar crawl, building considerable momentum amidst moody vocals that develop with additional layers into the twangy, atmospheric guitar lines at mid-point. A thunderous blast of distortion arrives thereafter as the vocals let out an emotive raucousness, departing from the textured rock atmospherics and into a delectably invigorating post-metal allure. The opener does well in quickly showcasing the act’s tonal range and knack for satiating build-ups.

Shapeshifter doesn’t let go of its creative fervency throughout the eight tracks, the longest of which comes in the form of “Obsidian Dawn.” Sounds of nature glide into shimmering guitar layers, exuding a prog-rock brightness. Much of the effort enamors in its psych-friendly, prog-rock wanderings, with a finale that succeeds in a more charged-up vocal passion; the wordless emotion resonates alongside guitar-based momentum, for a thrilling result.

Also evidenced on the gripping “Hrethgir,” Negativehate show a compelling tendency for jazzy prog-rock builds to culminate into fierce vocal emotion and distortion; the traversals from prog-rock to metal are consistently impressive and cohesively accomplished. Shapeshifter is an eclectic rock tour-de-force from Negativehate.

“Infinity Bias” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of December 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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