I’ve been a fan of Ho99o9 for quite some time after seeing them in 2017 supporting The Dillinger Escape Plan. Shortly afterwards I reviewed their single ‘Street Power’ for Joyzine here. Following on from a punishing US tour (supporting Alice In Chains and Korn) and massive plaudits for their recent releases, Ho99o9 have dropped their Cyber Warfare EP which is a companion piece to their critically acclaimed Cyber Cop EP, released earlier this year.
Accompanying the EP is a music video for ‘Master of Pain’ which has been adapted from the Ho99o9-fronted issue of Heavy Metal Magazine Music Issue which dropped on 28th August. The Ho99o9 comic featured in those pages was written by Aaron Gillespie (Bionic Man, Green Lantern, Lady Demon) with artwork from Arturo Lauria and lettering from DC Hopkins. The EP itself is made up of a whopping seven tracks – just the kind of value which is needed in these economically trying times. Three of them were produced by Carl Chaste, with the other four produced by David Andrew Sitek, Freddy Dire, Lil Booth (theOGM) and David “Squirrel” Covel.
Opener ‘Master of Pain’ starts with a sinister (unidentified) audio snatch, before launching into the most delicious hardcore punk. Distorted bass and drums drive this fast as fuck opening with the immediate and pained vocal delivery we’ve come to love from Ho99o9. Thick bass and the refrain of “when you pray for rain you get mud” starts the intense follow up ‘Plexiglass’. Full of loud and quiet and loud parts and replete with references to war and drugs, this relatively short song sure does fit in A LOT! Just superb.
‘ShadowRUN’ is again another short and sweet track that starts with yet more 100 mph drums and guitars, this time with some crooning mixing it up with the barking vocals. ‘Yellow Tape’ is glitchy with a deep pounding. Whispering vocals seduce between the more aggressive delivery referring to “body bags” and “toe tags”. It’s impossibly addictive and danceable. ‘Simon Phoenix’ (Ft. JPEGMAFIA) is again a more rap track with samples including emergency responders interwoven with the vocals and throbbing bass. Aggressive and progressive, full stop. ‘WiFi Punx’ is another electronica heavy, bass driven glitch soup with antagonistic vocals which barely touch the 2 minute mark. Absolutely sublime.
Final track ‘F.O.G.’ starts with squealing guitar and some good old fashioned hardcore punk. Distorted loudspeaker vocals lead into barking instructions and heavy chugging guitar. This is thrown around with the usual Ho99o9 abandon with little consideration for traditional song structure or genre. And this is what I absolutely adore about this band.
I genuinely think that Ho99o9 are THE perfect band. They don’t give a shit about convention and they make music that speaks to the forgotten and the undervalued. Their audience is the underdog and they do all they can to speak scream to them to unite and rebel. Buy this EP now!
Review by Ioan Humphreys