Newly released "Henry Metal V" is the fifth studio album from Henry Metal. The album takes a highly stylized and original approach to the True Metal sound and is an entertaining and addictive ride from beginning to end. In true Henry fashion, technical chops and classic riffage meet unbridled expression throughout the album and each song offers a glimpse into a corner of the Metal genre's tried and true subject matter, from sex to monsters to muscle cars.
Henry Metal debuted in late March of 2017 with the release of 2 singles, “Butthead Maven” and “Boss of Me,” both of which would appear on his debut album “So It Hath Begun.” The nine song LP was the genesis of a uniquely honest, straightforward and blatant style which subsequently unfolded organically into 3 more full-length albums released rapid-fire within a few months of each other. Sometimes humorous and sometimes righteously indignant, “So It Hath Begun” covered the landscape of raw rebellion, lust, sarcasm and humor with a middle finger displayed proudly to all conventions pertaining to the business of making commercial music.
The momentum created with “So It Hath Begun” pushed seamlessly into “Wizard Vs Demon,” Henry's second album. Songs such as “Succubus,” “Heavy Metal Is Dead” and the title track “Wizard Vs Demon” developed the somewhat more serious musical aspirations of Henry, while tracks such as “Hackers, Leakers, Truth Seekers,” “Fukushima Ceviche” and “Possible Side Effects” took shots at society at large. Humor also plays a continuous part throughout the album, especially in “Samurai” and “Rock Out.” Musically, Henry's classic baroque guitar shreds continued to weave in and out of classic American blues-rock pentatonic riffs, all the while sitting snugly in a deep, intricate pocket of solid and perpetually moving metal.
Meanwhile, the outright rejection of every entertainment business formula and traditional gatekeeper had become an over-arching theme in the style and marketing of Henry Metal. The music videos for “Wrist is Pissed,” “Wizard Vs Demon,” “Terrible Driver,” “Thought Police” and “You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet” are campy, unapologetic affairs with the same simplicity and purity of intention, for better or worse, as the music itself. As the campy imagery mingles with music that rages with intensity it becomes a cautionary message about taking even serious things too seriously. This approach has not been without its critics and plenty have dismissed it as either a derivative rip-off (largely because of the disguise) or garbage altogether (presumably due to the somewhat comedic lyrical tone). Of course, Henry is not the first to undergo the critical wrath of musical know-it-alls. To hear Henry tell it, “if you're pissing people off, you know you're doing something right.”
Henry's third record, “The Maestro Abides,” took a decidedly more serious and substantive turn as evident on such tracks as “Thought Police,” “Bankster,” “The Maestro Still Abides” and “On With the Show.” Though not quite your average 'good time rock,' the album is packed with good times, from a strange rebel and sheriff interlude to a song about speed walking and not putting enough ink into disposable pens and, hence, wasting time and good plastic. The album, in some spots, is perhaps Henry's most abrasive and opinionated to date, though all better for it.
“Metal O'Clock” is Henry's fourth offering which is an extremely engaging, musical and catchy affair from beginning to end. With big choruses, memorable riffs and a stadium rock vibe it might be considered quite commercial were it not for its subject matter which opens with a punk rock middle finger, continues into a thrash metal fury and pays homage to the Swedish Viking gods Odin and Freyja on the way to making fun of government ineptitude and consumerism. To cap off his senior release, Henry sarcastically glorifies drug abuse before taking us out with a tune about elective cosmetic surgery. As usual, there is not a single dull moment on the intense, virtuosic and precisely composed “Metal O'Clock.”
Henry gives a nod to the lineage of his inspiration with his cover release of “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. 1968 England was when and where the face paint, devil horns and phrygian scales were gearing up to take over the rock world. Thank goodness these things are alive and well today.