Noise Hop outfit Melanin Free attempts to drown out white supremacy
By Sound Check
May 10, 2017
When your band in named Melanin Free, you are black and your album cover has a distorted picture of Donald Trump, you cannot expect anything more than music that is filled with absolute tension. If any band seems to have that in spades, it’s Melanin Free. Once tagging a song as “white excellence”, Melanin Free seeks to give us the sound of seething anger and tension that has and will build in this country. Mostly, anger and confusion inspired by caucasian supremacy.
By Lightning Pill*, AFROPUNK Contributor
Wasting no precious time, clanking percussion holds together screaming feedback reminding you of Trent Reznor’s own production, and it’s the kind of industrial concoction that can inspire two people to instantly want to fight one another. With waves of reverbed guitar squeals and VCR-static drums, the title track is an intro one should never ever forget. Emerging directly after it is “Repeal + Replace”, a trap beat that makes you want to goosestep your way around the room. Along for the cyberpunk ride are local Baltimore artist Freaky and :3l0N, one of which gets two spots on Melanin Free’s tracks. But it isn’t just mere bars all around. Psychedelic swirls of beeps and squeals form the room like a gas chamber, till your discomfort and your confusion matches that of suffered black people.
In two tracks, they both referenced and sampled the CashMeOutside meme (she shall not be named anything more) and Rachel Dolezal. With all the noise going through the album, it might as well be the sound of cognitive dissonance not only in the brains of annoyed and angry black people, but of white people who wear blackness like a basketball Jersey. The only time they let up, sort of, is when they get to the ending “Tesla M”, sampling the ever animated Donald Trump, with :310N singing with enough emotion to turn the album’s anger and discomfort into an emotion that demands mercy.
But since mercy is not really on the menu for the next four years, I guess it’s time to strap up with an album of the times. And what better album is there to listen to while raging the time away than Melanin Free? Rather, what band would you rather have do the raging for you?
*Lightning Pill, Boston’s 93rd favorite polymath. I write songs, compose music in various genres, make beats on occasion, write articles for IHeartNoise and Afropunk, write poetry, edit and direct videos, and drop science that most people would rather not hear. Oh yeah, I’m also an Aspie. Very important information. You can reach him @ www.twitter.com/LightningPill or visit his Afropunk website. His Soundcloud can be found here and his main Bandcamp found here. Also here for the new agers.