Artist: Samer Elnahhal
Album: Supernova Kill Road
Label: Psycho Inn Music
Does humor belong in heavy metal music? While some metal and hard-rock artists might give out the impression of being stoic party-poopers with absolutely no sense of humor at all, every once in a while an artist comes forth with an album that incorporates humor in an unexpected way. I’m not talking about the kind of potty humor that boils down to making armpit farts between the songs on the record, but rather that particular type of gentle irony that shines through in the way a band resorts to exploiting nostalgia. Just think about Lordi, for instance. Don’t even try to convince me that you can listen to, say, Would You Love A Monsterman? without cracking a faint smile. It has all the cartoon elements of the 1980s horror-metal staples such as Alice Cooper, KISS, and Ozzy Osbourne, while filtering them through the prism of gentle humor. Having played bass in Lordi for almost 14 years as ”OX,” Samer Elnahhal sure knows how to tap into this particular vein. After departing from this Finnish horror-metal icon of a band last year, he started to craft his solo album, Supernova Kill Road, while contributing basslines for Down South Junkies. Finally, the digital version of the album saw the light of day on July 24th, 2020, via Psycho Inn Music and the CD format was released on August 5th. The vinyl edition is due out in September.
Elnahhal‘s new album is a jovial stroll down the memory lane that’s lined with the cobblestones of these aforementioned vintage horror-rockers as well as the cartoon grooves of Rob Zombie, whose influence shines through on the track, ”Parasite,” rather nicely. The strongest Alice Cooper flashbacks are conveyed by the third track, ”Jupiter City,” whereas the track, ”Boogie Town,” takes a side-step to the swinging jazz-bravado reminiscent of David Lee Roth’s solo album Crazy from the Heat from the mid-1980s. ”As She Loves You to Death” is a sonic sculpture resonating with the unexpected aura of young Lemmy Kilminster or Rob Halford fronting late Red Hot Chili Peppers. Maybe the impression derives from Elnahhal‘s smooth slapping technique, which adorns the tracks ”Boom House” and ”Man in the Shadows” too.
Elnahhal is on lead throughout the album, playing the bass as well as rhythm guitar. To spice things up, the album features several special guests contributing lead vocals. Niki Rock of Barbe-Q-Barbies appears on the tracks, ”I’m on a Mission” and ”Absinthe Romance.” The other tracks feature vocals by Henry Lee Roots [Spiha, Down South Junkies], Mica [Hellcity 13], Tommi Mikael, Mike Kuparinen, and Simire.
Supernova Kill Road showcases a selection of 10 songs that have been crafted with piety. The album is neither a tongue-in-cheek comedy nor a piss-take on the cartoon-metal of yesteryear, despite the subtle element of humor. It serves as a friendly reminder that humor does not necessarily have to be complicated wordplay, dry sarcasm, or rude jokes – t can be seriously funny too. These songs have such an inherent feel-good quality to them that you somehow get the feeling that Elnahhal and his musical entourage must’ve had loads of fun in the studio.
Well, the press release labeled Elnahhal‘s music as funky industrial space metal. That sounds by definition like something you simply cannot play if you’re sulking. Frankly, it is not something that will have an enormous impact on the quantum mechanics of the universe. You do not even need to be as old as me to have heard this kind of stuff million times over already. This time, however, the implementation of these age-old heavy metal principles is rather excellent. How could it not have been, given the years of experience condensed into these 36 minutes. Yes, Supernova Kill Road is quite short for a contemporary rock or metal album, but then again – you can always put it on repeat while warming up the heart of Saturday night with a bunch of good friends. It’s a perfect party soundtrack.
Rating: 8/10, 4 stars
1. Psycho Inn Cafe
3. Jupiter City
4. I’m On a Mission
5. The Beauty of Two Worlds
As She Loves You to Death
Man in the Shadows