Bitch Hawk are about as unique and joyfully perplexing as their moniker. The Stockholm, Sweden-based group traffic in a brand of heavy tunes that can charitably be called noise. That’s part of the point, and it’s a huge credit to Bitch Hawk that JOY comes across as controlled as it is.
To be sure, there’s a whole cornucopia of styles on display throughout: punk, sludge, thrash, garage rock, hardcore, and even some black metal. Some may lazily compare the band to Kvelertak, where musical might and melody result in some seriously toe-tapping tunes. However, Bitch Hawk are (sorry) hawking a much different product.
JOY really is a joy to consume, because it’s manic and delirious, and the songs stick to a tempo about as long as a Hollywood marriage; yet, these songs are somehow catchy and fun. It’s like a group bottled up what made the post-punk revival so electric and spread it out onto a metal and hardcore sandwich.
Seriously, JOY isn’t necessarily the most consistent record in the world, as the middle third features the album’s best tracks, but it’s most definitely reliably exciting. The guitar and bass tones are magical, and vocalist Fred Burman’s manic screams only add to the bombast.
Those looking for nuance or calm are clearly in the wrong place, but Bitch Hawk’s latest release soars with an effervescent sense of (sure, why not?) joy. It’s hard to think about extreme metal being danceable, but JOY is most definitely hip-shaking.