The acronym band known as H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty), has
achieved success throughout the years, first catapulted in Bam
Margera’s infamous pre-Jackass underground film, CKY2K.
If you’ve ever wondered where Bam gets his symbol that looks
like a mix between a pentagram and a heart, (heartagram), its
creation originates from the goth-metal band H.I.M. Under a black
spider on the inside of the album case are the words written: “In
Iggy We Trust.”
With Iggy Pop as a collective band influence, it comes as no
surprise that most of the members of H.I.M. look like they are
strung out, and the singer on the cover of the album resembles
Brandon Lee in the Crow. Compared to the first album, this album
shows better-crafted song writing, but lacks the ferocity. The
goth-castle romantic acrobatics propel slow melodic metal with
their love and sorrow-filled lyrics. The love discussed repeatedly
in every song reads more like renaissance poetry than 21st century
metal. The singer seems to draw his low-toned vocal influence from
the likes of Bono and Jim Morrison, and at times in the album
sounds strangely like Bing Crosby.
The first song, “Salt in our Wounds,” is a key track for fans,
however all the heartache, love lost and boo-hoo for the entirety
of the album makes it sound pitiful. Each song is equally droning
and drowning and their refined sound still lacks experimentation.
H.I.M.’s use of organs, churchy ensemble backing vocals and detuned
guitar sounds add to the haunting effect of the album, right in
time for Halloween.
Talib Kweli, “The Beautiful Struggle”
* * * *
Since the days of his Blackstar collaboration with Mos Def,
Talib Kweli has grown in the underground hip-hop scene and has
developed a mature sound while holding on to his values and views
as a human.
Anyone familiar with Talib Kweli knows that he is proactive in
hip-hop to save the world. His fourth album “Struggle” proves that
Talib might be the most respected artist in hip-hop because of the
help he had from big names to make this album.
On the opening song, “Going Hard” Talib raps about the cost of
life outside of corporate America. “Broken Glass,” produced by the
Neptunes, speaks of those less fortunate. “Back Up Offa Me,” “A
game” and “Work It Out,” are songs that are equally friendly on
both the underground scene and in the club. The acclaimed Faith
Evans appears on the chillin’ “We Know.” “Ghetto Show” is a cool
summer jam with Common and Anthony Hamilton. Three key tracks on
the album reveal the strength of Talib. “Around My Way” samples the
Police, a somber song reminiscent of the Biggie tribute song “I’ll
Be Missing You.”
The Kanye West produced “I Try” with Mary J. Blige is easily the
best song on the album emphasizing the changing times: “Get
searched on the plane/Arabic first name/disturbed by the fame/just
like Kurt Cobain/I have trouble trying to write something that bang
in the club all night while people suffer tonight/lord knows I
try.” Jean Grae’s contribution to the song “Black Girl Pain” has
streaming female vocals with lyrics focused on modern-day racism.
Overall, “The Beautiful Struggle” is a timepiece for both hip-hop
and the world, and is Talib’s best efforts to date.
*You can hear more of Talib Kwali on KCSU 90.5 FM