It’s a Christmas miracle. An unannounced and unexpected seven-track mini album from New Jersey agitators, Ho99o9. Last year’s debut album, United States Of Horror, introduced their mix of hardcore punk, hip hop and noise to the world. Having seen them at close quarters, I can safely say they are one of the most visually and viscerally arresting bands you’ll ever see.
2018 saw them collaborating with 3teeth and The Prodigy. They are particularly suited to the latter. TheOGM’s vocal style has much in common with Keith Flint and Liam Howlett’s production suits the Ho99o9 sound. Like The Prodigy, Ho99o9 have been embraced by rock fans. They’ve played the Earache stages at Glastonbury and Boomtown, as well as the Download festival amid the more traditional Monsters Of Rock.
Cyber Cop is a concept album of sorts, with song titles like ‘Is It Safe To Internet?’ and ‘Internet Thuggin’. It’s a digital release, naturally, so in the absence of a physical cover there is an accompanying ‘zine with liner notes, lyrics and punk style collage art. It’s well worth a look if you’re a fan of Winston Smith’s Dead Kennedys covers.
The music itself is exactly what you would expect from Ho99o9; a mix of hardcore (‘Is It Safe To Internet?’/ ‘Leader Of Pain’), hip hop (‘Mega City Nine’/ ‘Delete My Browser History’) and weirdass electro punk, (‘Forest Fires’/ ‘Punk Police’). Yeti Bones and TheOGM work with different producers on each track and it makes Cyber Cop a varied and engaging listen. N8n0face makes a stunning impact on ‘Punk Police’, raging against punk gatekeepers; “so many rules to follow/that shit don’t sound very punk”.
The short format also means the repeat button gets pressed a lot, which is a good sign for any record. Over the course of the EP, there are nods to Boo Yaa Tribe, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Slipknot, Dalek and others, but mostly it’s the pure sound of Ho99o9. With so many punk bands, new and old, retreading old formulae, Ho99o9 are a reminder of what punk should be. Cyber Cop is collaborative and inclusive. It’s got guitars and drums but also keyboards and samplers. It’s abrasive and staccato but it can also groove. It’s full of aggressive noise but the real tension stalks its moments of silence. The only limit to music is imagination and this band haven’t yet found the limits of theirs.
Cyber Cop is available here.