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Album Review: "The Need to Destroy and Rebuild" by Hot Nife

Hot Nife — formed in February of this year — is Lukas Hutler on guitar, Alec Asatoorian on drums and Luis Ho on vocals. This three piece released their debut album, The Need to Destroy & Rebuild, today, Thursday, July 7.

Photo of Hot Nife from @hot.nife on Instagram

This album is a must-listen for everyone.

As I listened through this album, every single song had my jaw dropped.

The album’s sound is unlike anything I’ve heard before, it’s like midwest emo meets punk.

The intro to the album is the song “The Need to Destroy & Rebuild,” which begins with a collage of distorted vocals, electronic sounds and glitches. This then abruptly stops as the guitar comes in with a classic midwest emo riff. The drums for the chorus are very cymbal heavy, the quick crashes making you want to get up and dance immediately.

This first song also includes a layered vocal effect, with a soft grunge voice underneath a screaming, emotional emo/punk voice.

The inclusion of guitar effects throughout the album really adds flavor and depth to each song.

The second song on the album, “Minute for Me,” has a super ear-catching guitar intro that sucks you in to the rest of the song. It begins almost as a slow song, and then the tempo changes to more of a punk beat.

The chorus switches tempo every line, from slow to fast, creating a completely different feeling for the two lines being repeated.

The lyricism for the entire album is top tier, you can genuinely feel and understand the emotions that Luis is singing about. The vocals are also very clearly heard over the rest of the band, making it easier for the listener to resonate with the words and connect to the song in a perfect way.

This song ends with a note ringing out, then turning to almost overwhelming noise that flows into the next song, “If.”

The song starts with a grainy-sounding drum beat, which then stops abruptly to make room for another classic midwest emo guitar riff, a theme we see in a lot of songs on this album.

“If,” is a song that makes you feel ready to circle pit. The lyrics for this song are fucking great, here is a snippet of the chorus:



Cease the time

Take a moment to savor

If I can just find a way

To harbor my fears

I’d make up for the last two years

Ready to bury the hearsay

As it became the vulgarity

We know today

All songs on this album are super relatable, you understand where he’s coming from because you’ve been there, too.

Around a minute and a half into “If,” the song switches to almost a heavy metal sound. I headbang every time.

This song ends with Luis’ vocals ringing out, flowing into the next song, “Puppet Strings.” (albums with songs that flow so perfectly together always have a special place in my heart)

“Puppet Strings,” is a song I see myself crying to. This one is more midwest emo heavy, with slow, droning vocals that tug at your heart strings. You can feel Luis’ emotions with every lyric.

The song goes from an emo, heartfelt sound to a fast drum beat where Luis begins screaming the lyrics. His scream sounds almost like he’s choking on tears, it’s perfect for the feel of the song.

The next song is “Sewn Shut,” a drastic shift from the slow, heartfelt vibes of “Puppet Strings.” This song is almost hardcore punk, beginning with minimal guitar power chords and fast drum fills that compliment Luis’ fast, screaming hardcore vocals.

After the song’s intro, we hear a punk drum beat with quick guitar power chords split up by tiny dissonant emo riffs. I would run around punching people in the pit to this song, any day.

It ends with four power chords that send us into the next song, “Under the Magnifying Glass,” which again includes hardcore punk style power chords and drums. This is juxtaposed with slower, quieter emo vocals. It’s a great combo.

Next, we come to “Yet to Reveal Its Worth.” This song is the perfect critique of the L.A. punk scene, discussing the fact that a majority of “L.A. Punks,” come from upper class families, claiming to be “punk,” but having grown up with “silver spoons,” and “greed.” It also goes in to the fact that when some individuals see you succeeding, they do their best to “find the dirt,” and ruin what you’ve accomplished.

The sound of the song begins with a similar hardcore punk style as the previous two songs, then switching to a slower, quieter guitar part with a slower drum beat. Then, Luis begins screaming “I’ve said sorry before / but I won’t anymore,” as the drums and guitar build up, leading to an extended scream from Luis that rings in your ears beautifully.

The song ends with what almost sounds like the drum part disassembling.

The final song on the album, “Safe Nest,” is a reflection into the past. Luis discusses how “Our scene had its phase,” mentioning how they had played shows every weekend and it “gave them a reason.” The song has a hopeful undertone, as he mentions “turning a new page,” however the majority of the song is about missing the past, and missing the people that have moved on.

As someone who attended shows before quarantine and COVID-19, this song hits a special place in my heart. I do miss how the scene was before 2020, but I am also hopeful for the beginning of a new, supportive community.

The song itself includes guitar chords and riffs that mesmerize you. The chorus is more muted than the rest of the vocals on the album, almost sounding like a voice in the back of your head.

It ends with the final note of the song ringing out, a satisfying end to this journey of an album.

The Need to Destroy & Rebuild album art

Overall, The Need to Destroy & Rebuild continued to surprise me with every song. There are so many elements that catch the listener off guard, from little guitar riffs to Luis’ insane vocals. The drums really bring each song together, telling the listener when it’s time to relax and listen to the emotional lyrics, and when it’s time to get up, let your anger out and jump around.

I look forward to everything Hot Nife has planned for the future. This debut album is insane, especially for a band that’s been around for less than a year.

The band has only played one live show so far, but are set to go on a mini-tour this July. The tour send off show is tomorrow, July 8, at Greenhouse SFV in Sylmar.

I urge everyone to give this album a listen. It is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.


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