Category: Industrial / Electronic
Album: The Hum
Blurb: Marking his solo debut under his own name, Marc Heal puts all of his songwriting and production skills to the fore with what is surely one of the best albums of his long and storied career.
Producer, songwriter, author, rabble rouser – all of these words and more could describe Marc Heal, one of the most revered characters in underground music. His distinguishably gravelly voice and in-your-face performance style is the stuff of legend as the front man of the techno/metal battering ram that is Cubanate, while his lyrical approach has stood on its own for its reliance on storytelling by way of mood and atmosphere rather than rhyme and meter. After a long period spent behind the scenes as a music and TV producer, Heal has returned to the forefront, and while he’s released solo material under his MC Lord of the Flies moniker, The Hum marks his official solo debut under his own name.
There is a propensity on the part of audiences to expect an artist’s solo outing to bear some resemblance to the established group. However, Marc Heal has never been one to adhere to expectation, so while his voice and songwriting signatures will certainly recall memories of Cubanate, The Hum is a much more singularly visceral experience. Songs like “Johnny Was an Oilman” and “Adult Fiction” with their strident drumbeats and viciously catchy choruses, “Model Citizen” and “Tiananmen” with their marching rhythms of handclaps and rolling synth bass, topped off by Benny Ong’s brisk, metallic guitar riffs, all resonate with a restrained fury the likes of which only Heal could convey through his distinguished teeth-grinding growl. Other tracks like “Wounded Dog” and “Katarina’s House” are slower, almost jazzy with their bouncy beats and sparse ambience, Heal’s voice taking on a softer though no less emotive aspect, while “Monoxide” is sure to be a dance floor hit with its new wave atmosphere by way of sustained pads and captivating chorus that won’t leave your head for a good long while.
From start to finish, The Hum proceeds along its own beaten path, one that deviates from the norms of industrial/rock and perhaps even goes further back in Heal’s career when he opened for Gary Numan as a member of Westwon. Indeed, each track seems to contain a very familiar melodic synth that accompanies Heal’s voice (especially in the chorus), resonating with the ghostly reverb and icy cold depth that will surely remind many listeners of Numan’s ‘80s output; this gives The Hum an almost vintage, timeless quality. Though many will undoubtedly still pine for the harsher sounds of Cubanate to make a comeback, The Hum stands testament to the craftsmanship and songwriting skill that Marc Heal is eminently capable of; hands down, one of the best albums of the man’s long and storied career.
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)