Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Review: Henry Metal- Deadlift Cowboy




Does humor belong in music? Frank Zappa once asked the question many years ago, and with him, it was almost more of a statement than a question, because obviously with his music it was a “yes”. Granted, his was often the biting type of satirical and sardonic humor that was incisive towards the mores and values of the day. The question also then arises to “does humor belong in metal”?

Metal has often been maligned as being either unfunny or extremely unintentionally funny, as any fan of the film This is Spinal Tap, or even Beavis and Butthead can attest. 

There have been gems of comedy scattered within the metal scene though, whether it'd be Scatterbrain who appeared in the 80's, Tenacious D's flirtations and appreciation of the metal idiom, Mr Bungle or Primus's careening towards the metal genre, or the underrated project Crotchduster from the early 2000's (featuring a certain Richard Chirsty on drums) or even comedian Brian Posehn's metal songs. 

Metal has had humor in it for many years, but only recently has it been acceptable to be into metal without being ironic but also be able to laugh at it (or yourself if you're into it). You can add Henry Metal to the list, who's new album, Deadlift Cowboy is a celebration of the absurd and the funny in the world, but done in a metal fashion.  

So, does humor belong in Metal? Yes!

Henry Metal is a multi-instrumentalist and producer based in LA and purportedly this project started in spring of 2017 and is on the 7th album already (gasp)!

Before we begin with the lyrical content, let's begin with the music first. One thing that struck me, to paraphrase the long departed Euronymous from the Black Metal band Mayhem, is that there is no core (as in any kind of metalcore) and no trends inherent in the release. In some ways, it reminds one of the aforementioned Tenacious D, but I can also hear bands ranging from Queen to Megadeth to even Ugly Kid Joe in there as well. 

The guitars aren't extreme metal heavy, but veer between hard rock and thrash metal at times, with some virtuosity but without an overemphasis on it. 

The vocals have the comedic element in tact, but are adequate enough at delivering the melodic hooks as well. The album begins with the Queenlike “Here Come the Injuns”, an epic track featuring some terrific piano accents and lyrics like “I have heard that cowboys like to eat baked beans but they only had pan and fire no oven or other means".

The next song is a slightly punky and grungy groovy thrash song (the sort of “title track”) "Deadlift", which extols the exercise in the title (I should try it at the gym sometime myself instead of sometimes wasting my time with the other exercises, which the song also mentions).

"Motivation" is a (somewhat) mellower fist pumper that features some tasteful keyboards and even more tasteful soloing. It features lyrics about, what else (?), motivation, especially at the gym!

"Indoor Scooter Man" is a groovy latter day Megadeth sounding song that puts the image of a decrepit looking guy riding a scooter in a mall, it would make for a totally tasteless but hilarious video!

Wild West” reminds me a bit of the theme of Manowar's infamous “Outlaw” song, but this time it's meant to be funny.

Idiot” is a ballad of sorts, and “Smooth Metal” contains sort of a mellow early 80's R and B vibe...until the awesome neo-classical guitar runs begin.

Sexual Harassment" is a song with very current subject matter, perhaps both commenting and at least in part satirizing the #metoo moment. Some more awesome thrashy neo-classical influenced soloing prevails in the second half as well, which I enjoyed.

Overall, this project is an excellent find, and
speaking of funny, the album cover art is a hilarious parody of Job For A Cowboy's style of artwork and logo, however, I must say I think Deadlift Cowboy is a far superior band (sorry JFAC fans).

I would highly recommend this band to anyone who's a fan of humor in music, or Metal, and the man behind the project also knows how to write hooks and riffs that get stuck in your head. Fans of everyone from Megadeth, to Freak Kitchen, to Tenacious D to Brian Poeshn may get something out of it. Looking forward to more releases in the months ahead. Who knows, maybe their discography will exceed 20 more albums in 2018!

All I know is that I'm definitely going to keep following the project in the future, as it will likely continue to deliver.

You can find out about Deadlift Cowboy from the following links,

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