By John Clay, Author/Producer-Rock At Night Columnist-London
Review: HAWXX’s video for “Death of Silence”
This review could wax lyrical about Anna’s ethereal vocals and what the near math rock breaks do to the listener’s anticipation. There will most probably be a few reviews which account for that talent and work to support HAWXX in a way which ingratiates their wares to fans old and new. This piece however concentrates on the art of their music video, directed by Noomi Yates.
To say that Sarah Smither’s (D.O.P) and Joshua Grant’s (2nd Camera Operator) shots are sharp and clear is to do the finished item a massive underselling. Director Noomi Yates commands the viewer to see everything that you’re supposed to see. Nothing less. Nothing more. And my, is this shoot lit well.
There is a homogeneity in lighting and colour palette which pervades productions in the sci-fi genre of late. Despite this HAWXX video avoiding spaceships or overt technological references, the violets and the strobes which JJ Abrams helped popularise over a decade ago are often synonymous with industry standard visuals, and they are all over this clip for ‘Death of Silence’.
This is stellar work, and to adequately create this hyper modernity and have it persuade the audience of its authenticity requires an above average team. Viewers are far more expectant and knowledgeable than many academics are willing to credit and so, when this review states that this music video is more of a short film, a work at ease on the starship viewscreen (or holo display atop a Bladerunner monolith), decode these words as concrete affirmations. No hyperbole included.
Noomi Yates has directed a lavish assault on the eyeballs, a take on the typical band as a gang united against a common threat. Symbology of the webs that they free themselves of and navigate their passage to a safe space could be commentary on the evermore obvious traps and pitfalls of a patriarchal society. It must be noted that this determination only works as a conclusion if we are to assume the gender representation of HAWXX as female (and our attention perhaps unduly fixated upon gender as opposed to the performance/stagecraft of the players as musicians foremost). What is clear – and I will avoid spoiling the ending here – is the strength we receive from collectivist action. Indeed, the budget of the video was amassed via crowdfunding over the summit of the ongoing pandemic. The reward of teamwork is stated clearly and powerfully here and is well earned.
Highlights include Hannah hitting one of Jess’s drum cymbals mid-song before hammering out riffs on her guitar again (yes!), the uber professional editing and of course, makeup that doesn’t just look great, but is applied with the forethought as to how it will look on camera. Anna looking down the barrel of the lens holds your attention as does Iman. The latter in particular throws and holds some striking poses which afford any screenshot a worthy still EVERY time. Go ahead, try it out for yourself.
In a world which will no doubt be brimming with praise for the industrial drumming, gut punching bass sounds and all that propulsive energy in a record that recalls the more laudable aspects of early 2000’s Nu Metal, there ought to be a pause to reflect on the craft of the oft rushed and ill thought out marketing vehicle that is the official music video. I hope and would expect many a unit/download to be shifted in favour of ‘Death of Silence’ due to the robust delivery by Yate’s team.
Well done all.
You are joint custodians of a grand achievement.
Watch ‘Death of Silence’ Here:
Lead Guitar: Hannah
Dir: Noomi Yates:
2nd Cam/Editor: Joshua Grant 2nd
D.O.P: Sarah Smither
Gaffers: Jack Lilley
Make-up: Anna Randall and Jana Dent
Stylist: Shantelle Milieare
Colourist: Hannah Squires
1st Ac: Alice Berkeley
Art Dept: Rosa TRUELOVE, Georgia kent, Polly Simon
1st AD: Melanie Light
Contact Director Noomi Yates here: https://www.instagram.com/noomiyates/
2nd Cam/Editor Joshua Gaunt here:
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