Black metal and hardcore hip-hop, two entirely different sides of the musical coin. In a strange, almost perfectly twisted manner; the two can combine and create one of the most intriguing, Frankenstein monsters of atmosphere and assault through sound.
In a black metal fist fight, Ghostemane emerges crowned in black mage robes and white face paint on his hellish 2017 release, Hexada. A crowd favorite by my father, Hexada taps into the sick and delusional vein of heavily distorted, bass focused rap music that is more than abrasive at the first jump. But then when mixed with the acoustic instrumentation of pounding drum sets, the synthesizers, the flurry of noise becomes aggravating and creates a wall of sound.
From the opening pure noise track of “Intro.Decadence”, Ghostemane spawns these revving and warped synths, odd vocal sampling that speaks of “Damnation,” and a final intro with the self-titled “Hexada”. It is just an ugly, clicking and assaulting piece of instrumental freedom that ignores the guidelines of hip-hop and becomes something much more sinister. Ghostemane is a vicious animal, but is reflective of how music can shift the emotional mood within mere seconds and transpose the symphony of the night as his own. The sudden punching of bass and the rattling triplets of his signature voice, Ghostemane explains, “Speaking up will get you locked up like religion, Pillage everything about a woke up mind”.
His lyrical style of combining that darkness with a sense of message comes quick and is often missed behind the buzzing bars that Ghostemane delivers on. This is common behind his conduction and constantly manages to invoke this sense of overbearing movement through his delivery. He can light up a room through the flames and become this ten-foot tall figure made of ash, Ghostemane compares well with the competition if there ever was any in this style of music.
There are iconic moments throughout Hexada and “Squeeze” is one of those tracks that manipulates the listener and forces them to move about with the dance-heavy piano, but crushing bass. Through Ghostemane, there is something that leaves the rude and sex driven lyrics to a full sprint when paired with some of the most innovative production in hip-hop today. It takes extremes and balances the lows with the incredible heights, moving the music in a constant fashion of never halted hell.
Not only is Hexada a well produced and lyrically entertaining album, but overall it has this factor of being multi-faced. It straps on the wood block and clicking for Ghoste’s classic style, but moves mountains with his adaptable mix. He continually moves forward, without forgetting his past.