HoundsI caught Hounds opening for Killing Joke back in March 2013 and found their somewhat brash and pumping electro beats suitable entertainment before the main event. This EP turned up complete with a Killing Joke cover and a 3 disc album of KJ ‘In Dub’ to review so after giving it a few spins I thought despite the fact this disc was apparently given away free with Metal Hammer it would be rude not giving it a bit of space here.

It would appear that as the name suggests this is the second EP in a series of three which are laying down foundations before the band’s debut album. I’m assuming that will have a completely different track list and material here will not be included but will have to wait and see about that. Looking back at my live review I mentioned being particularly impressed by a track called ‘The Wicked Witch’ and sure enough it is this they kick the EP off with. With the vocal cry out of “there was a witch but she’s dead, now she’s under my house’ coursing through it and a bouncy pumped out electronic bass boom and chunky guitars it’s an infectious and powerful number. I can imagine this going down a lot better now when the band headline a small room than what they got as a reaction at the KJ gig with most of the punters in the pub still. It’s youthful and invigorating and goes down well, brooding between dark gothic and electro punk beats sounding like a cross between Mindless Self Indulgence and The Birthday Massacre musically. ‘In Your Eyes’ has some snotty sort of vocals and a large soundclash with everything pretty loud and abrasive in the mix. There are hints of everything from Britpop vocally to dubstep musically as it romps away and picks you up in its forceful grip and it certainly gives you a solid battering due largely to its very powerful production.

It appears that Hounds covered Stigmata by Ministry and as far as the Joke are concerned they have picked ‘Whiteout’ from ‘Pandemonium,’ one of the bands more manic and frenzied numbers. Covers of this band are seriously hit and miss as anyone into them will be sure to decree but luckily this is most certainly on the hit side containing the fervour and drive of the original with a burgeoning mind-set and power behind it. It surges suitably and impresses me and believe you me I would be quick to point out any criticism, as the Joke are as close to a religion as I have. Finishing off with ‘Watch And Learn’ we get some slewed keyboard parts and an anthem etched chorus which will no doubt go down well with anyone watching them at Sonisphere and Camden Rocks when they play there later in the year.

Hounds are a bit on the commercial side for my usual tastes and I’m the first to admit that but I grew up on what they obviously are influenced by and consider they have bridged the gap between old and new very well here. Although you won’t find me jumping straight in the centre of the mosh pit should I see them live again, I will certainly be banging my head in appreciation at the bar.

(7/10 Pete Woods)