More often than not here at Radio KRUD, we write about bands that derive their sound from multiple musical discourses. It’s hard to pin them down to one single musical style and say, “Now their sound is defined and there’s not much else that needs to be said.” Well, today’s band is particularly genre defying. In fact, before I even continue with this post, I challenge you to predict the sound of a jazz band who lists Meshuggah and Mastodon as their primary influences. Well, that kind of eccentric mixture is what you get from the Hate Camels, and I guarantee that their music will go way beyond whatever insane sound you have concocted in your head based on what I’ve already said about them.
You just have listen to their album Death Comedy Jams…and one piece of life metal. The title is pretty self-explanatory when you see the track listing:
- Mitch Hedberg
- Richard Pryor
- Sam Kinison
- Lenny Bruce
- Bill Hicks
- Andy Kaufman
- Peaceful Queen
That last track is the “one piece of life metal.” In case you were wondering, yes, it’s a concept album. Each song basically acts as a tribute/theme song for its respective comedian, so keep in mind the person and their work when listening to the music. If you’re familiar with any of these comedians, then these songs are that much better because of how intricate a portrait they paint. For example, “Mitch Hedberg” has kind of an easy-going and trippy quality to it while “Sam Kinison” is the most aggressive track on the album and “Andy Kaufman” gets very weird in some parts.
Even if you’re not a fan of most or any of these comedians, this is still some incredibly well-crafted jazz that you can enjoy listening to. This album is quite experimental, which is kind of a “no duh” statement seeing as it melds elements of classic jazz and heavy metal. And it’s all instrumental, so there aren’t any deep growls or throaty howls to be found for those of you who find heavy metal vocals to be a bit overbearing. I think most of the metal influence comes from the more aggressive delivery and some of the crunchiness found in the tunes. Geoff Cleveland, the composer, must be some sort of musical genius to combine such bipolar styles and make the end result work as well as it does.
If you’re still not certain whether this is something you would be into, then let me tell you what Mitch Hedberg’s wife, Lynn Shawcroft, had to say after hearing the track named after her late husband, “I just checked out the song. Itâ€™s amazingâ€¦ Mitch would be sooo flattered. Mitch was inspired by music. And he loved musicians. He would be happy to know that a great musician like Geoff Cleveland was inspired by comedy in the same way.” Let me echo her sentiments by saying that this is great, innovative music and is doubly entertaining if you’re a fan of any of these comedic icons. Get this album.
Purchase Death Comedy Jams…and one piece of life metal by the Hate Camels
Hate Camels – Mitch Hedberg
Hate Camels – Sam Kinison