16 October 2020 (released)
21 October 2020
We think of industrial music as being most closely related to rock. Though was born of the synth era of the 80s, its rise to prominence came in the 90s when rock, specifically grunge, seeped into its DNA creating the industrial rock that achieved the genre's highest levels of notoriety. However, industrial has bred with many different styles over the years to create some interesting hybrids. In the 90s, hip hop and industrial could not have been further apart, with rap sampling the smooth organic funk of the 60s and 70s and industrial being made up of loud robotic clanging. Over the years though, the two have overlapped more and more with many MCs infusing industrial styles into their beats to help them bang that much harder than the next guy.
New York artist Scotty Seed has brought hip hop as well as dubstep influences to his classic industrial sound. His latest album features production collaborations with producers responsible for tracks by Skrillex, Crystal Castles, and even Carly Rae Jepsen. The LGBTQ artist works within that cacophonous realm of industrial sounds and evokes Skinny Puppy's Oghr with some of his vocals but he also flips on a dime, leaning hard into hip hop rhymes. The combination is an attention-grabbing pastiche of modern musical infusion.
An ominous verbed-out intro lays down spooky groundwork before he launches into the title track. Grandiose choral vocals bring to mind Depeche Mode at their mid-80s height. Seed then slices us down to a plodding hip hop beat over which he whispers all manner of ghoulish things. Big synth brass and speeding flybys create a manic soundscape. 'The Mask' leaves the dirge of grimy industrial behind for the glammy dance club lights. A Eurythmics-esque synth line punctuates this punchy EDM number. Seed mechanically follows the melody lines without breaking stride. The auto-tune hits a little hard on this one.
'Boogie Man's Knife' brings us right back to the industrial with Seed fully channelling Skinny Puppy's Ohgr not just in voice but with effects as well. 'Sorry, You Had to Go' has Seed again in tense whisper mode with trudging dubstep below. On 'Villain' he leans hard into the hip hop vibe, lyrics and all. Tongue in cheek to be sure. 'Pig' brings us back to that grunge-infused industrial that most of us are familiar with while 'Eden' once again has a disco club vibe with a Cher/Lady Gaga influence.
Hallow's Eve is a bold blending of styles but there's a jaggedness to it that prevents you from getting fully drawn into it. There always has to be a seamlessness to genre-breeding. The listener has to get lost for long enough to forget that these are disparate voices coming together. With some work on the vocal delivery and more time with the beats, Seed could have some interesting material.