Hyro The Hero is a new one on me, and Flagged Channel is his second album after his 2011 debut Birth, School, Work, Death. I happened to check out the video for “Bullet” a few weeks ago, and on the strength of it I had to grab the album. With its angry mix or rock and rap, I was transported back to the good old days of Rage Against The Machine (with slightly fewer guitar effects) and wanted to find out if all 12 tracks were as good.
Flagged Channel is a colossal album, full of brain-rattling bass, simple riffs, angry lyrics and just the right amount of samples. It truly is a hybrid of rock and rap, taking the elements of each which work best together. No song outstays its welcome as they almost all run around the three minute mark, enough time for them to hit you and run.
I mention this a lot in my reviews as it’s important to me, but Mr The Hero has included a lot of variety on the songs. This isn’t a one-sound-repeated-a-dozen-times album, there’s a great amount of creativity here. “Live Your Fuckin’ Life” has some huge bass hits, and then you have “Sick Of It All” which has more of a hip-hop edge with shouted chorus vocals backed by more melodic choral voices. “Bullet” rams home the distorted guitar whereas “Do Or Die” brings in some acoustic and sweeter riffs to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing up.
The sheer energy pouring from the speakers throughout the album has me hoping for a live tour soon. Even the purer rap sections have me en-rap-tured (sorry), such as parts of “Get The Fuck Up”, as they allow a little breather before some more crushing metal guitar and drums.
We’re seeing a lot of style / genre crossovers these days, and it’s wonderful seeing bands take opposing forces and bring them into union, especially when they work (so, not Ho99o9 then – sorry Ho99o9). Flagged Channel works, and it works damn well. Rap is an angry, emotive musical style as are rock and metal. This was a marriage that’s been proven to work in the past, and Hyro continues this tradition.
Flagged Channel is out on June 29th