“Anger, anger, angerrrrrr!” That’s the beginning line of the lyrics from the title track of “Anger’s Creeping,” the latest single/video from Special Ops’ recently dropped album. Of course, you have to really belt it out, like Akbar Johnson does. He’s the lead singer/guitarist of Special Ops. And he has one of those factor five voices, you know, the kind with the ferociously goosed up, ramped vocal chords that emanate neutron radiation.
In other words, Johnson’s got it going on the vocal department. He sounds a bit like James Hetfield of Metallica, only Johnson has more range and better projection.
While we’re here, we might as well mention the rest of the guys: Waldo Thornhill on bass; Weka BW, who is the Middle Eastern guitarist; and sitting in the pocket is Pat Kadaver. All are excellent musicians, with good stage presence; the band is tight and really punches it out.
Special Ops hails from Montreal, which is the biggest city in Quebec.
Billed as an alternative rock band, Special Ops sounds like the offspring of Metallica and Slipknot; but the child was carried by a surrogate mother – Disturbed. So three disparate elements: heavy metal, new wave heavy metal and nu metal. And you can add some rap and jazz influences to the mixture. I call it “heavy metal electrique,” because they pump out fierce annular shock waves of music. If pressed, I would probably put them in the same category as Slipknot (new wave heavy metal), but even that’s not quite accurate because of the various stimuli evident in their style.
So how about we just leave it at ooh-la-la!
“Anger’s Creeping” starts off with po-mo industrial riffs, and then the band kicks in, along with Johnson’s growling, actinic vocals. The melody is raw, driven by power chords that propel it along with palpable energy. The chorus is strong, almost convulsive. I like the way Kadaver drums: he hits hard, accents with vigor and extends the snare. And best of all, he anticipates transitions and plays his kit like another instrument, not just keeping the beat – 1, 2, 3, 4.
The video is excellent, switching from the band playing in a red-light haze (nice effect, by the way), and glimpses of a young man snorting cocaine, i.e. fueling his inner rage. Later, he picks up a gun, tucks it in his pants and goes out to rob a convenience store, where, while he points the gun at them, patrons begin laughing at him.
I’m not sure what the moral of the video is, but it certainly demonstrates the puissance of anger and the artificial tensions it establishes in the human psyche. Call it a warning.
Special Ops has my attention, and they should have yours, too. They’ve got it going on! We can only hope they get down to the U.S. for a tour soon and, hopefully, to the Left Coast. Excellent stuff!
Find out more about Special Ops here.