Ho99o9 – ‘United States Of Horror’ (Album Review)
When you spend your life immersed in music, it’s easy to assume that you’ve seen and heard it all. When I headed down to Brighton to watch The Dillinger Escape Plan tear the town a new one, then-support-act Ho99o9 immediately shredded said assumption. For more about that show, click here.
Ho99o9 (pronounced “Horror”) live up to their name on United States Of Horror. Focussing mainly on a merger between industrial distortion, rap aggression, and hip-hop style, Ho99o9 pull out a series of dark and disturbing tunes punctuated with tangential turns toward hardcore punk, metal (especially on the thunderous New Jersey Devil), and satirical trap (Hydrolics), finishing up with the anthemic United States Of Horror and the quicksand electronica of Blaqq Hole.
Ho99o9 thrive in a live environment – and the video for United States Of Horror combines humour and incisive political statements to gut-punching effect. For me, Knuckle Up’s genre-hopping genius; Sub-Zero’s immediate hardcore impact; and the aforementioned New Jersey Devil were my ultimate favourites along with United States Of Horror’s title track. Aside from that, United States Of Horror (the album) isn’t something I’d listen to endlessly.
At the same time, I think everyone with even a passing interest in even one of the genres Ho99o9 smack together so effectively should see these guys live. The songs on United States Of Horror are given a whole new meaning when unleashed in the real world, as opposed to under headphones or through speakers. And above all else, Ho99o9 are all about giving the finger to oppressive authority figures.
Love or hate Ho99o9’s music, but you can’t say being forced into a position of obedient conformity against your will is a good thing. We live in a world where certain groups would have us all re-segregate ourselves and fight each other to the death – but that’s not what music like Ho99o9’s is about. This album stands for freedom from boundaries – and that’s why I like it, even though it’s not entirely to my taste.
80% (Essential Listening!)
United States Of Horror drops May 5; pre-order it on iTunes here.
Also published on Medium.