In today’s day and age it’s safe to say that no genre is safe. Artists are coming out every day and redefining genres with fusions and collaborations that have paved the way for new styles of music.
One of those bands is New Jersey natives Ho99o9. A band that not only subverts your expectation but immediately blows your mind with their progressive and experimental view. I have seen this bands name around for years and was aware of them but never gave them a honest shot until today. While riding my Knotfest recap I decided to give them a shot and I was immediately happy that I did.
I Open my Spotify and started playing their top hits. What my ears heard was shocking to say the least. A fusion of experimental hip-hop and noise punk layered with industrial tracks and death metal blast beats. My brain simply could not comprehend the unholy noise that was unleashed upon it. Immediately I was enthralled by their music and so I craved more. I scrolled through and noticed that they just released a new album titled skin this year 2022.
So I opened up the album and started listening just like I suspected more of the same intensity from the very first song I was taken back with how quickly the genre change happened and was immediately reminded of bands like the number 12 looks like you. At the drop of a hat you could be listening to a trap beat and it could switch over to a death metal blast speed and screaming vocals. The combination did not take long for me to latch onto and I found myself wanting more and more as I kept listening to the first few tracks of the album.
The second song was titled battery not included and I thought it was a straight banger I listened to it two or three times in a row before moving onto the third track. And that’s when I saw it a feature by Corey Taylor himself from slipknot! My ears perked up as I tried to take in what I was hearing and again I was blown away by the song. It was unlike anything I had heard up until this point and utilized Coreys vocals extremely well the front half of the song was a little more easy-going and the latter utilized Taylor‘s screaming skills to its appropriate degree.
Now I was fully enthralled while listening to the rest of skin I started searching interviews with the band to try to get a better understanding of their methodology and their philosophy on music. I was happily surprised to see the two-piece had adopted a former Black Flag member as their drummer in 2018. This further their street CRED with me as I listened to the interviews. The member that goes by The OGM did most of the talking during the interviews and stated that growing up in New Jersey he was a huge gangster rap fan and his copilot in chaos Eaddy was a huge punk fan. He mentioned how the sound came organically and they never mentioned trying anything specific. This furthered my love for the group knowing that this sound was something they came upon naturally and we’re not fishing for a new type of music in terms of marketing. They seemed to be the real deal and still do.
Their music explores a lot of darker themes which I enjoy and they have taken on a death cult theme for their following. They explore themes of mistrust and antiestablishment -ism while also exploring softer emotions in a new way.
The sound that resonates with me most from this group is the distorted vocals I feel like they really can
capture the pain behind the vocalists words. It’s a good contrast with the almost Scott Pilgrim like baseline that continues to ring back in my head constantly.
This music could easily fit in multiple places in time I could see it being a soundtrack to an old video game or a part of a soundtrack to a blade movie. I see myself going on road trips with my friends and jamming to this in the car but also I could see myself enjoying this alone at home even when I’m just relaxing.
This album(Skin) in my opinion is the Magnum opus of ho99o9. It folian capsulates every experimental beat that they have well also defining who the band is and what they speak about. It pushes the envelope and at times makes you feel uncomfortable while also re-adjusting you to your new reality. It constantly throws you for a loop and just when you think you know where something is going and almost Shyamalan like twist is thrown in your face.
I think this album has an almost unmatched energy to other music nowadays. It’s mixed with such passion and you can tell that the songs truly come from the heart. As stated earlier bands that come to mind when thinking of this group range from the number 12 looks like you to stray from the Path and honestly that’s about it there’s not much else I can compare to this band they’re pretty unique in their own right.
This album took me on a roller coaster of emotions and did not apologize for doing so in the 12 songs lasting around a half an hour I felt four or five emotions multiple times and was happy to feel them. It’s an emotional roller coaster of an album and for as loud and in your face as it is the message does not become blurred. I would suggest this album to any kid who grew up in the emo or hard-core or death metal scene and has a love for hip-hop or rap.
When thinking in terms of rating I would rate this album a 9.5 out of 10 being nearly perfect there were several times that I felt like the album drug on a little bit and needed to keep finding its footing but other than that the pacing was exquisite and the range of sounds was perfect for what the group is trying to represent. It’s a true pleasure to hear bands like this still paving their way in 2022. It makes me excited for the future and it makes me excited for music.
SKIN is now available on Spotify.... GO STREAM IT NOW!!!