by Thomas Bedward January 04, 2021
If 2020 taught us anything at all, it’s that this world is severely, perhaps irreparably broken. Torn apart by compulsion, subjugation, excessive social conformity, and soulless consumption, we’ve all be cast adrift and left for dust, and while most might be happy to lay still and let it all collapse around us, there are a few determined to revolt. One such force is MSHAA, a unique and controversial musical project who take inspiration from aesthetically controversial topics such as anti-Aestheticism, misanthropy, nihilism and the dark side of human personality.
A project that is widely considered to be controversial for the anti-religious overtones, dark imagery and libertarian political views infused with their music, MSHAA and frontman Paul Cien Soulwhore have always stood firm in their artistic rebellion, sending a constant and driven message that it is important to be yourself, no matter what others think or say. A band that has faced their own fair share of drama and persecution, MSHAA have had many incidents where people have tried to censor their songs or cancel concerts for not being politically correct, and Paul even faced prosecution after one infamous concert in 2018 where he cut the throat of a plastic sex doll with the face of Polish ex-prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski as a stand against Jaroslaw’s involvement in covering up numerous paedophilia scandals.
In the studio, MSHAA is the defiant work of just one person, with Paul writing all the lyrics and composing, recording and mastering the music all on his own. While he’s joined by hired hands on stage, it’s his unique creative vision that makes MSHAA so unforgettable, offering a dark combination of aggressive rapcore anthemics, modern heavy bass, and cyber-industrial beats that crash over waves of sharp, snarling vocals. Erratic, energetic, and completely irrepressible, the sound of MSHAA is an experience like no other, and in true form, ‘LOUDanum’ is an album no like other.
Released in the fading days of 2019, ‘LOUDanum’ is a dark, brooding testament to everything that makes MSHAA so provocative, opening with the sinister synth sounds of ‘Witch Hunt’ and pushing through to the cataclysmic finale of ‘Fallen Away from Me’. In the opening shades of the album, MSHAA take their stand, rallying around a fierce stream of lyrics that denounce everyone who is blindly xenophobic or racist due to arrogance and stupidity. It’s a sharp and piercing track, one that revels in a lavish arrangement of programmed drums, powerful synth basses and dark industrial tones. Second cut ‘Grausomely Rotten’ follows with similar power and passion as MSHAA conjure up and synth-laden tempest of electric guitar, steady bass, twisted lyrics.
In ‘Beyond the Lambs’, MSHAA set their sights on the latent fascist nature that lingers in modern society, while also critically examining the herd mentality that we all fall victim to. The music is just as erratic and visceral as you would expect, but the true power of the track lies in the lyrics, pushing past the hard electro-metal sounds and dominating the focus of the piece. Elsewhere, ‘Do What You Will’ and ‘Suck My Gun’ wage war through heavy industrial overtones, brutal imagery, and a sharp nihilistic edge, while ‘Villain’ opens with an infamous quote from the late GG Allin, breaking ground with an uneasy sound that is both impressively beautiful and disturbingly real.
As we finally reach the final two cuts of ‘LOUDanum’, the album arches it back and shows its fangs, delivering progressive arrangements, expressive acoustics and nightmarish synths in ‘Hallowed’, and a unique cover of the Korn classic in ‘Fallen Away from Me’. A reinterpretation that is nothing short of genius, ‘Fallen Away from Me’ is a perfect illustration of MSHAA’s sound and style, standing firm and delivering a constant aural assault of industrial-infused, trap metal sounds, bringing the extensive album to a close with a deafening impact.
It’s hard to imagine a more divisive, rebellious, or caustic album than ‘LOUDanum’, and yet it all works so perfectly, creating one of his decade’s most disturbed and intoxicating records. Not for the faint of heart or casual listener, ‘LOUDanum’ is a dark psychotic trip that keeps on rolling, and Paul Cien Soulwhore has done his very best to ensure that everything about the release is sharp, dangerous, and unlike anything else that you’ll ever hear.
You can stream ‘LOUDanum’ above via Spotify or on MSHAA’s official Bandcamp page, along with the new single ‘I Can’t Breathe’, which sees MSHAA embracing a far more aggressive, rapcore style than on the current record. Be sure to also keep an eye on MSHAA’s social media pages and website below for the release of upcoming album ‘Wormwood’, which is set to arrive in 2021.
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