Ho99o9- United States of Horror Review

TL;DR:

ANGRY PEOPLE SAYING ANGRY THINGS

 

Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) is a Los Angeles noise rap duo that has been making some waves in the past few years through some significant mixtapes, the most recent being Dead Bodies in the Lake. I’ve my reservations about this crew when I first heard them as, my first impression was “Hey, another Death Grips rip off group except they seem to like Bad Brains a little more”. And perhaps I was being unfair with them but it’s hard to not hear the similarities in the vocals and productions, as well as all the other Death Grips rip offs that have sprouted since Exmilitary came out. But with this new album, Ho99o9 seem to have carved a nice little niche within the Noise Rap genre that feels a little more fresh than before. And with 46 minutes of material, compared to Dead Bodies in the lake which was just over twenty minutes, they’re giving themselves a lot more room to make a statement.

The album starts off with a short intro and then heads into a song that disappointed me at first, War is Hell, mostly because of how sludgy it is and it just didn’t feel like much of an intro to me. Not that it’s bad, as it isn’t at all, it’s actually kinda catchy. I just would’ve preferred the second song, Street Power, to have switched places with it, which is a much more high powered and varied song with an atmospheric and airy beat that switches quickly into this hardcore punk instrumental as the duo screams: STREET POWER. And this album has a much sharper punk edge than others ,although, I’m not sure if they combine punk instrumentals with industrial and noise in a very fluid way. There are the punk songs and then there are the noisy songs. Few songs like Street Power do have both sounds within the songs but they are utilized with sudden beat changes between both rather than a combination of the two.

This isn’t to say that songs don’t have variety as it very much does. Every song has a specific identity and sound that really impressed me. There are few songs that come and go that aren’t easy to remember. Whether it’s the manic and glitchy Face Tat or the creepy-as-fuck and ethereal Moneymachine or the Bad Brains worship of City Rejects. Although all songs feel fresh, some over stay their welcome and become drab rather quickly. Knuckle Up is a good example, even though it is one of my favorite songs, it could be thirty seconds shorter and it would only make it tighter. Moneymachine is an even better example as quite honestly, it should’ve been like two whole minutes shorter as it quickly becomes redundant and boring once the novelty of the song wears off.

Now I said that Ho99o9 has made a new niche with this album and I stand by that. Although it is still clear that Death Grips is still a principle influence with songs like War is Hell and Dekay, it seems that they are pulling from farther back now on most tracks. I’m getting strong hints of Dalek and Nine Inch Nails from this record, particularly the song Bleed War in relation to NIN. This combined with their evident worship of 80s hardcore punk, it presents a feeling unique that is difficult find elsewhere. There is even a very strong mainstream trap influence on some of these songs like Hydrolics or Splash that quite honestly, barring subject matter, aren’t too far away from radio-friendly in terms of sound.

This album does have a much more distinct identity than other recent noise rap albums but it still isn’t very tight or polished. In addition to the redundancy of some tracks, some end out of nowhere to play some pointless interlude that just kills the momentum of the album. Just as Bleed War is getting it’s most intense, it cuts off to a skit of Death receiving a wrong number call. Like what the fuck. It’s kinda funny but it is still irritating because it seems like this album is trying to be a more holistic experience with these interludes and skits but it ends up making the whole thing feel scattered and unfocused, with no momentum ever being built from song to song. Which is a shame, because the only songs that are blatantly bad are United States of Horror and Blaqq Hole, which just so happen to end the album off. United States of Horror has some incredibly lame and cliche lyrics and although I enjoy the chorus and I would love to see it live, it just kills the album for me when he’s screaming these somewhat triumphant lyrics about never giving up and being yourself when the rest of the album is so nihilistic and cynical. Blaqq Hole is just a very inconspicuous ending that just lets the album fizzle out like a burning fire instead of an explosion. Also the vocals are stupid. They sound like: BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB. And I just can’t help giggling when I hear it.

All in all, this album has consistently great songs on it that either get ruined by poor sequencing or abrupt endings. If I was to just judge the songs on the album, then this album is incredible, but as an ALBUM, it feels like it lollygags and wanders around aimlessly. I will undoubtedly return to my favorite songs on this album, like Knuckle Up, Bleed War, and Street Power, but I’m not really interested in listening to the whole album in its entirety.

6.5/10- Mostly good.

headroommuzak@gmail.com

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Artist that deserves your pocket change and clean underwear: Sivyj Yar

The underground metal scene is something everyone needs to venture into at some point if you love GRIMY, DISGUSTING, BEAUTIFUL, LYRICAL, and GRAND metal music or even just “music” in general. It is a wide open field that still manages to be crowded with a bunch of guys in corpse paint and make up with a weird circle near the northwest of the field reserved for the hipster post metal folks. About a few hundred feet to the left of the dead center of the field, but not too far as to find all the dudes into noise and droney doom, you’ll find the football helmeted thrash metalers, then to the right, forming a crescent moon shape around the center in the southeast, all the zombified black metal enthusiasts throw pig heads at each other and there are many more communities polka dotted around the field. Although it is looked down upon some, wishing for pure blood, a beautiful thing about this community is that they all incestuously romance one another and create the best combinations of each member (or “all” members as these folks enjoy orgies quite a bit) all while the NSBM broskies curmudgeonly look from the outside of the field as they reaffirm their shitty opinions about the world among one another.

My point is is that the underground metal scene has a distinct flavor to it and one that I’m fascinated by. So many artists that hide in the shadows, with no want for attention. So many beautiful landscapes of sound and so many disgusting and murky horrorshows that some metalheads will never notice or feel. There is a lot of creativity and one band(one guy really) really stands out to me for whatever reason is Sivjy Yar.

Now, as far as I know, he is not NSBM or anything. From what I can gather, his lyrics are based more on pagan poems and personal struggles. But if it turns out that he is NSBM, let me know, I just don’t wanna support that sort of ideology is all.

Sivyj Yar is a Russian one man band by a guy named Vladimir. And his music is a nice mixture of black metal with some post rock elements, which isn’t an unfamiliar formula, but the energy this guy plays with is ridiculous. My favorite album of his is From the Dead Villages’ Darkness which is an immensely moving and cold record that just makes you put your head down by the end of it.

It is cold, dark, depressing; but still manages to sound triumphant in the most negative way you can think. It’s the music of the catharsis of a person accepting their fate, whatever it may be all while in beautiful agony. Vladimir has these shrill and yelping vocals that sound like someone is cutting off his arm and the drums… oh the drums. They’re so damn energetic and organic. You just feel the impact in every smash to the cymbals and snare. The bass is full of treble and even seems to be providing to the melodies in the tracks. This music just sounds like someone having a breakdown.

It’s interesting because the formula that is being used is not especially unique but it still feels so newborn and fresh. If you enjoy post-metal, black metal or blackened death metal, just give this one a listen. It made me shit my pants a bit.

Go onto his Bandcamp and send him money, car keys, expensive vases, goats to sacrifice, whistles or mostly clean underwear. This guy deserves what you can give him.

Check out tapewyrmmetal.com if you want to get into the underground metal scene as that guy goes over some of the most obscure music I’ve ever found. As well as Caligari Records on Bandcamp, they hold some impressively disgusting and ambitious music.

 

headroommuzak@gmail.com