‘Deathkult is not a genre you will hear often, mainly because there is one band currently identified with the styling, Ho99o9. Claiming to blend punk, rap, militancy, industrial, metal and hardcore, Ho99o9 are a formidable force. With an infamous live show and a legion of dedicated fans, the time is nigh to release debut LP, ‘United States of Horror’.
Spoken intro ‘U.S.H’ directs this release from the very top. “I pledge allegiance to the burning flag” leads into ‘War Is Hell’, a driven political rant punctuated with Ho99o9’s trademark aggressive vocals. ‘Street Fight’ begins in the same vein before the band kicks in, blending punk rock into the mix. Although a welcome addition, it’s clear early on that Ho99o9’s strength lies in the lyrical content and beat making, and not in the prowess of their band.
‘Bleed War’ and ‘Knuckle Up’ feature more rock and metal bursts nestled between digital sub-frequencies, before giving way to more programming in the menacing ‘Sub-Zer0’. Title track and single ‘United States of Horror’ shows some interesting lyrical flow, even if the chorus vocals are pretty uninspired repeating “Everybody put your mother f*****g hands up” time and again. This is the defined Ho99o9 sound and one that translates to a hard hitting, raw live show. Nonetheless, as is sometimes typical with this brand of music, everything begins to sound the same by this point of the album. Sub-bass, programmed arrangements and venomous vocals characterise every track, and to a listener not usually versed in programmed compositions, this gets a little monotonous by the conclusion of ‘Blaqq Hole’.
Ho99o9 have created a movement based on their ethos as much as their music, and for this reason alone they will find an audience who identify with every single bar of ‘United States of Horror’. However, for casual fans this album just doesn’t seem all that accessible. Their reputation seems to shine much brighter than their efforts, in what could be seen as a disappointing debut.
‘United States of Horror’ by Ho99o9 is released on 5th May on Toys Have Powers.
Words by Jay Harrison (@Just_Jay_89)