Hacktivist (band)

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Ben Marvin and J Hurley at With Full Force 2013
Background information
OriginMilton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Years active2011–present
LabelsWake to Reality, PIAS Recordings, UNFD, Rise Records
Associated actsHeart of a Coward, Sacred Mother Tongue, Districts, Cyberbrain, Opia
MembersJermaine "J" Hurley
Josh Gurner
Richard Hawking
Jot Maxi
James Hewitt
Past membersBen Marvin
Tim "Timfy James" Beazley

Hacktivist are a British rap metal band formed in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, in 2011. They released a self-titled EP in 2012, followed by their debut studio album Outside the Box in 2016.


Hacktivist began in 2011 after Timfy James' departure from metalcore band Heart of a Coward. James claims that the formation of Hacktivist was a "fluke", with no intention of developing such a style, but the group was born when peer J Hurley, a local rapper with little history in the metal scene, began recording vocals over some of James' demos.[1] After the demos became very popular online, James decided to recruit a full lineup, bringing in Richard Hawking on drums, Josh Gurner (ex-Sacred Mother Tongue) on bass and Ben Marvin (James's former bandmate in Heart Of A Coward) as a second vocalist. The band began work on an EP in 2012 and debut single "Unlike Us" reached No. 2 in the Amazon UK metal chart within 48 hours.[2] Despite being released independently on 12 November 2012, the band's self-titled EP proved popular in the metal media with Metal Hammer in particular giving the band significant coverage[3] and considerable airplay on BBC Radio 1.

After the release of the Hacktivist EP, the band set out to tour. This included supporting slots for acts such as Enter Shikari and Korn and performances in European festivals such as Sonisphere Festival, Download Festival and Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in summer 2013. In April 2013 the group released a new song "Elevate", with an accompanying video, for free download[4] and this was followed up in August with a cover of "Niggas In Paris" (originally by Jay-Z and Kanye West). A video for "Niggas In Paris" was filmed during their set at Download Festival 2013. They also performed a live session for BBC Radio 1 at Maida Vale Studios.

The band headed out on a UK headline tour throughout winter 2013, supported by The Algorithm. A re-release of their debut EP with 4 bonus tracks was released on 11 November 2013.

They have shown support for hacking collective Anonymous, They also support "whistleblowers" Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning whom they reference in the song "Cold Shoulders".

On 4 August 2014 Hacktivist released the single and video for "False Idols". Lots of references to activism (especially hacktivist collective Anonymous) are made throughout the video and within hours the song had reached number 1 on the iTunes Metal chart. This release was followed on 12 November by "Deceive and Defy" (also accompanied by a video), featuring Charlie Holmes of Heart in Hand on vocals. Hacktivist then toured the UK from November to December, supported by Dead Harts and the One Hundred.

Following the release of the single "Buszy" on 17 January 2016, their debut studio album Outside the Box was released on 4 March 2016.[5]

Hacktivist were announced as part of the line-up for Slam Dunk Festival 2016 on 11 February 2016.[6]

On the 20th of January 2017, it was announced that Hacktivist and Ben Marvin have parted ways due to Ben's family commitments,[7] and rapper/vocalist Jot Maxi was brought in as the new co-frontman.

May 31st 2017 saw the release of single "2 Rotten" with an accompanying video. The track was essentially a heavier remix of track "Rotten" from Outside the Box but with Jot Maxi taking a leading role as opposed to the 16 bar feature slot he had in the original. The single was very well received despite the video not achieving as many YouTube views as previous releases, with the general census across social media being that Jot is a welcome addition to the band and that a 2nd album is keenly awaited.

On the 28th of March 2018 it was announced that Hacktivist and Timfy James have parted ways for an unspecified reason. Following on from this the band recruited James Hewitt (Invocation, Exist Immortal) as their new guitarist and producer with an official announcement made on the 19th of January 2019.[8]

Musical style[edit]

Hacktivist's music is a blend of several different styles. They are noted for using 8 string guitars and 6 string basses both tuned down to Drop E to achieve an extremely low tuned, distorted and dark sound, as well as ambient passages and a "wall of sound" production style. Their vocals are primarily rapped, although they also make use of conventional singing and occasional harsh vocals. They write their lyrics collectively, focusing on political subjects such as anarchism, conspiracy theories, government corruption, censorship, anti-gun violence, unity against oppression and other social and economic issues.

The band's music has been described as rap metal[9][10] and grime,[10] as fusing djent and nu metal,[9][11] or more generally as adding rapping to djent.[12][11] They have also been said to use elements of groove metal.[11] Their guitar compositions have been described as reminiscent of both Meshuggah and nu metal bands such as Limp Bizkit and Korn.[12]




Studio albums
Extended plays
  • Hacktivist (2012 self-release, 2013 release under Wake to Reality/PIAS Recordings)
  • Over-Throne (2016, UNFD/Rise Records)


  • From Hacktivist:
    • "Cold Shoulders" (2012)
    • "Unlike Us" (2012)
    • "Hacktivist" (2012)
  • "Niggas in Paris" (Kanye West and Jay-Z cover; 2013)
  • From Outside the Box:
    • "Elevate" (2013)
    • "False Idols" (2014)
    • "Deceive and Defy" (2014)
    • "Buszy" (2016)
    • "Taken" (2016)
    • "Hate" (2016)
    • "No Way Back" (2016)
  • "2 Rotten" (2017)


  1. ^ Interview with Hacktivist Metal Mouth. January 15, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  2. ^ Hacktivist: 'We're uniting a lot of people' The Guardian. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  3. ^ New Music Monday: Hacktivist Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine. Metal Hammer. October 8, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  4. ^ HACKTIVIST Debut New Video And Offer Free Download Metal Mouth. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Hacktivist Stream Debut Album, Outside The Box - Kerrang!". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  6. ^ "Mayday Parade, Cancer Bats & Yellowcard for Slam Dunk 2016". DIY. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  7. ^ "Hacktivist on Facebook: We are sad to announce the departure of founding member and vocalist Ben Marvin". Facebook. Retrieved 2017-01-22.
  8. ^ "Hacktivist on Facebook: We are beyond excited and proud to FINALLY be able to announce our new guitarist & producer JAMES HEWITT!". Facebook. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  9. ^ a b Pasbani, Robert (5 May 2014). "Is Nü-Djent The Next Big Thing?". Metal Injection. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b "UK's Hacktivist, Italian Metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse Announced for Mumbai's BIG69 Festival". Rolling Stone India. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Islander (9 November 2012). "Hacktivist". No Clean Singing. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  12. ^ a b Rosenberg, Axl (17 October 2011). "Djent-rappers Hacktivist Kind Enough to Put the Word Hack Right There in the Name". MetalSucks. Retrieved 1 May 2015.