One thing that impressed me right off the bat with Henry Metal’s “The Maestro Abides” is how authentic it is. This captures the exact sound of metal as I remember it was when I liked it in the late 80’s, early 90s. Listening to the track “Rock N’ Roll Rebel” made me feel like I was transported back to a late summer evening in 1989 watching Return of the Living Dead II on HBO, enjoying some pop secret microvave popcorn. Henry Metal’s music is refreshingly melodic in a way that most metal isn’t today. The vocals on “The Maestro Abides” are expressive and emotive.
When listening, one understands that the artist here doesn’t merely “like” metal but actually understands metal and how to achieve the precise tone technically at every level. Often times bands and solo artists might be influenced by a particular genre, but their attempt to emulate or channel the sound ultimately spins off into something similar but not quite what they were going for (although sometimes still great.) What Henry Metal manages to do is what every artist aspires to. He actually achieves the sound he appears to be striving for and does it quite proficiently.
Alexander Howard’s new single “Mount Rushmore” is set for July 4th release. According to Alexander, the song loosely follows the events of an eventful and boisterous night in Las Vegas, with the participants trying to maintain a “stone face” while downing “$3 shots of nameless whiskey.” This track is radio ready, and it is definitely a peppy party jam. i could actually picture this being played in casinos and becoming some kind of contemporary Vegas pop classic. The style of the song is noteworthy as well. It’s action packed and Howard sings impressively, his vocals maneuvering complicated rhythms with perfect timing while maintaining his poise and upbeat personality. Setting aside the carefree subject matter, this is what well-made, intelligent pop music sounds like.
Andrew Mancilla’s new album “Subtractive Color” is an impressive pop endeavor. The first song, “Rewire” is well placed as an opening track, as it builds quickly and the electronic energy kicks in. His vocals are goo too, like really good. In fact I’d be willing to bet he’s a better natural singer and has much more talent than most of the existing pop stars that populate the genre he’s looking to infiltrate. The more I listened to his album the more I appreciated how artistic it is. While it has elements of R&B, it is not defined by them. A lot of these jams are upbeat combine qualitie of 80’s pop with a few different contemporary styles. The song “Tell Her” (probably my favorite track on the album) is a great example of this. Overall, this album is excellent.
Dublin, Ireland based Hip hop artist Mythill Grim’s new track “Comfortable” has an avant garde quality to it. He manages to to avoid the mistakes other rappers make. He doesn’t come across as overly flashy or flamboyant and his style is relatively nuanced and low key (coincidentally a producer who goes by the name Lowkey is credited with the production.) Rather than being a tryhard that promotes a transparently frivolous image of himself, Grim focuses on substantive lyrics which tell a dark and brooding story. “Comfortable” is refreshingly serious and thought provoking compared to most hip hop I come across. It is a very personal song. Mythill’s flow is smooth and his tone is that of a slightly jaded lover or friend but one who is still coherent enough to explain his perspective logically and clearly.
As the opening title credits and aesthetics to the video suggest, this is almost more of a short art film than a music video. In fact, if there were no music at all it would still pass for a pretty interesting little abstract horror movie. The color usage is intentionally bleak, at times almost reminiscent of gritty horror films set in children’s insane asylums. It utilizes a lot of “glitch” type 80s and 90s effects but only subtly. It never really goes into full on “vaporwave” territory. It’s tough to find any real flaws with this other than it would be great if it were longer, due to the nature of the storylike presentation. However, it states that this is only part I, so it’s likely there will be more unfolding here over time. Grim is just keeping us hanging and waiting for the next installment of this jam.