Babelfishh - Howl Bender
Record Label: I Had An Accident
Release Date: September 18, 2012
If you like your hip hop with metal and hardcore samples, Howl Bender is the album for you. Houston's Babelfishh produces a masterful blend of hard hitting beats with thrashing sound samples, major metal riffs, and off the cuff lyrical assualts. Babelfishh is one Scott Huber. A heat absorbing Texan that has worked with many noteworthy artists including a rare split with Astronautalis and collaborations with beat artists Tenshun, Edison, Oskar Ohlson, FRKSE, and Filkoe. More recently he joined native Texas Evak for a collaboration as Prison Soup. Member of the 667 Guild and taking his message on the road throughout Europe with the likes of James Reindeer - Huber produces dark, lasting hip hop in a style many have trouble putting into words.
After first listen I had to step back a minute. I couldn't figure out what happened. I quickly did some searching over our world wide web to read a few reviews of Huber's prior work. Many describe this feeling the develops inside of them - a refreshed feeling as the music and sound shatters any lost hope an individual may have towards the music industry today. It is possibly because this album has a little bit of everything, as I said, those that are into metal feel at home here, yet those interested in hip hop can also dig this album. Its hard to define, but it is a garage style album - very much punk DIY ethic, and the amount of engery that Huber puts into the album resonates deep within.
Howl Bender starts with Red Brick Oven, a slamming piece that echo's raw torture in a lyrical threshold that sets a tone for the rest of the album. The metal riffs bounce off the beats and rattle around like a ravenous bear. The howling vocals produce an adrenaline rush hard to capture on recorded sound. The essence of the live performance is greatly illustrated right from the beginning. Trying to listen while sitting down is very difficult - as the rage of this album crushes my ear drums and uplifts my spirits. Huber's vocals are extremely unique - I would love to hear a spoken word piece by him - and I can imagine him reading the epic works of the Bible, brim and fire - enchanting. I hear a little Aesop Rock in the vocals - I have trouble using this as a comparison as I think they are very different in style, however, that sound that Aesop Rock has, it is the closest thing I can compare this to. Very deliberate and very pleasant. I strongly believe Huber's voice is the glue that binds this album together.
The essence of the live performance is captured in Howl Bender. I can imagine the raw energy is very present in his live performance, along with a case of beer and poor lighting. There are fragments of phone conversations and field recordings that act as transitions from one track to the next. These transitions provide a rest along with a hollowing or morbid introduction deeper into the abyss.
The album was released on cassette tape, however, an mp3 download accompanies the release. I tried listening on my iPod and on my old cassette deck in my car. Surprisngly both sounded great and there is a drenched dooming feeling when you listen on cassette. That lo-fi format really is fitting for this album. The cassettes are a rust orange in color, something I have not seen before, and encased in an aqua color case. Very stunning black and white artwork makes the album very beautiful to look at. I miss the physical format, and I don't want to bring up feelings of nostalgia here, but I had An Accident Records really helped preserve the physical format by making such a stunning release.