Over the last three years, Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) have built a rep for confrontational self-styled mutant freakery. The duo, Eaddy and The OGM set out to intimidate and terrify from the get go with their savage amalgamation of thundering Bad Brains meets Death Grips punk and menacing hip-hop. Their music videos showed them dragging bodies across kitchen floors and vomiting up their own organs while at their unsettling, riot-inciting live shows, The OGM turned up in a blood splattered wedding dress while a massive, ski-masked roadie stalked members of the audience.
Now, fresh from supporting Dillinger Escape Plan, a band who understand nihilism better than most, the New Jersey pair have finally released their debut – a violent and starkly relevant response to a turbulent world. Of course, there’s the typically chilling moments where the pair just want make you squirm in your seat – the skin-crawling ‘When Death Calls’ interlude, one and a half minutes of screaming and moaning that’s genuinely hard to listen to, and the nightmarish ‘Blaqq Hole’ which intones: “It’s getting dark outside, hope you got a safe way home…” among Suicide-esque beats and buzzsaw effects.
Their first EP and 2016 mixtape, ‘Dead Bodies In The Lake’, revelled in gore splattered B-horror movie imagery and chaotic violence, but, as its telling title suggests, ‘United States Of Horror’ is wired on a different kind of anger – these tracks seethe with violence and disgust, raging at dark political orders, economic inequality, racial tension and fractured society.
For the most part, Ho99o9 are way past just wanting to make their listeners uncomfortable – they want to rile them up and see them take action, asserting: "If this doesn't make you want to smash your head through a car window, you are wasting your time”, prior to the album’s release. "I cannot see the future," ‘Bleed War’ intones amid furious, ghastly beats while on the visceral ‘Knuckle Up’ they rally the revolution, screaming: “We don’t take no shit from a motherfucker”.
‘Street Power’ unites the two disparate elements of their sound in seething malevolence and ‘Dekay’ namechecks Trump as warped and twisted beats and electronics slash, shriek and pummel melody into non-existence. It’s on title track ‘United States Of Horror’ that they make their intentions clear, though: "If you stand against police brutality, racism, government oppression, murder fuckers abusing their power, false prophets trying to sell you their bullshit... put your fists up."
Ho9909’s debut couldn’t have come at a more pertinent time. We need their kind of voices, however discomforting they can be, now more than ever.
Words: Dannii Leivers
- - -
- - -