Halo Of Flys… Hello Alice Cooper… This Illinois-based band, however, did adapt their moniker a little, but they do not hide their appreciation for this master of Shock Rock, and even mention him in their thanks list.
The duo Ping – Emerson (respectively performing strings and drums / vocals / synths) debuted in 2011 with Death, Pain & Minds Insane, also via Metallic Media. The sophomore album, Bloodier Shade Of Red, deals with ugliness in different aspects too (so is the music, as you will notice, but seen from a not-that-ugly point of view), and the stuff was recorded, produced etc. all by these two mad guys themselves.
Bloodier Shade Of Red lasts for forty two minutes, and it is a mostly unusual sonic experience. I will, first of all, mention the project Nights Amore when listening to the intro, which is called Truth, and the outro, Have A Nice Day. It needs some explanation, of course, because it is limited to one aspect only, and not, certainly not, to the musical direction. I am referring to Nights Amore for both bands use samples as a profound and pronounced aspect (though for Nights Amore it is an essential structural aspect throughout all compositions). The conceptual side of those samples is different in between both of them (Halo Of Flys deal with murder, horror and malignancy, including a specific Charles Manson-adoration, while Nights Amore’s approach focuses on depression, suicide and fear), yet without listening to the lyrical content, the comparison is undeniable, I think.
But anyway, Halo Of Flys bring a pretty weird form of Dark Music. The title song, for example, is rather a Gothic-oriented form of hypnotic Metal, including aspects from Doom, and with soaring vocals, varying synths and distant guitars. The keyboards, for example, are rather spooky and strengthen the Goth-idea. The music is pretty varying throughout the whole album, with harsh, heavy parts interacting with psychedelic, symphonic or gothic ones.
However… besides lots of great ideas and the best intentions, there are more than a couple of remarks to keep in mind. First of all I think most pieces are limitedly coherent. Sometimes it sounds as if different things have been united, yet without considering a fluent and organic result. A couple of times I wonder why a specific drum pattern, for example, or a certain guitar riff, appears at one moment or another. It confuses me. Secondly, I do have a problem with the mix, and this remark is strongly related to my first observation. The relationship in between the rhythm section and the guitar leads, for example, misses cohesion and equilibrium. I don’t get it. Tertio, some might get irritated by the vocals. Mike Emerson’s voice sounds clean and mournful, but it lacks of strength. It sounds as if he wants to breathe or sigh his lyrics, instead of ‘sing’ them.
Not everything is negative, and especially the synths are based on great ideas. In each track they do appear, and because of their haunting core, and well-performed execution, they make that this album is not a total disaster.
Conclusion: good intentions, bad implementation…