I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve always enjoyed a good ‘n’ gritty, moshworthy, hard-hitting, street-bred hardcore metal band. I’ve always liked the attitude of hardcore music. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing such bands from all over going all the way back to Biohazard, Prong, Anthrax, and Pantera. Late-’80s-early ’90s Metallica and Megadeth. Many that aren’t as well-known but deserve to be. The Brooklyn, New York-bred Shango fall into the last category, and are the best I’ve heard recently. The band has been around for seven years, and now that metal is making its comeback, they’re finally being noticed. No offkey whimpering wimp-shit whining here. These guys ROAR at the things in life that irk them and they do it with a sarcastic tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that makes them FUN to experience. They’re not a depressive downer; instead of whining that “everything sucks” or bemoaning their childhoods like many “trendy” acts out there are doing right now, Shango’s music has more of an “Okay, so the world sucks—kicks its ass and knock some sense into it” type of attitude. Whether you’re listening to their 11-song debut CD or seeing them live, be prepared for a good musical trouncing. In other words, get ready to enjoy yourself thoroughly.
- Bassist and vocalist Tony Incigeri is a bigger-than-life presence; a big monster of a guy with a mustache, a tall mohawk, a ponytail, a powerful set of pipes in his music—and as I found out through speaking with him, a pleasant, easygoing offstage demeanor.
- Guitarist Tom Stigi studied under the esteemed Professor Josep Starer, who is listed in the Vienna Directory of Music. What, may one ask, would classical training have to do with hardcore metal music? Listen to his melodic but fiery fretwork and compare it to the playing of these two-chord Seattle-spawned alternagrunge trendoids. BIG DIFFERENCE.
- Skinpounder Rob Racalbuto has also had a lot of formal instruction, can play anything from jazz to hardcore and he won Zildjian’s Annual Drum Competition in 1990.
Tony Incigeri also has the distinction of participating in the launching of the careers of Metallica, Anthrax and Raven, being co-founder of Crazed Management along with John Zazula (Johnny Z). Tony used to introduce the bands and Anthrax’s Scott Ian once told him that he’d be “the greatest hardcore singer in the world,” something Incigeri couldn’t imagine at the time. His thing was managing and the welfare of his bands came first. Today, those bands have all moved on and Tony’s home is the stage. Although he doesn’t completely rule out the idea of managing bands again in the future, his goal right now is to take Shango as far up the mountain of success as possible. The band gigs out consistently. Audience response is positive. Shango’s debut CD, “Metal Mafia” on Brooklyn-based Back Room Records is impressive indeed. These guys have been described as “Pantera meets WWF.” I would also add Andrew “Dice” Clay and The Jerky Boys to that mix for that cool extra-special smartass wiseguy touch that makes Shango Shango. “The last five or six years in music, everyone’s complaining, saying “the world sucks”—hey, we’re supposed to be entertainers,” says Incigeri. “We’re not journalists, we’re not here to “inform people.” There are bands that do that very well, but that’s not for us. I’m not one for making political statements—for what? I’m just a guy in a band. I’m not going to change the world. I just want to entertain people. We have a sarcastic sense of humor—you don’t know if I’m really angry or what. That’s the way everyone expresses themselves in Brooklyn. When I’m onstage I’m a big loudmouth; offstage, people are always surprised at how soft-spoken I really am. Our main thing is to get a reaction out of people. Some will hate it with a passion, some will love it with a passion. We’re under no illusion of becoming a big, commercial band. Hopefully, we’ll get an audience and keep them satisfied. If Shango can make a living doing this, we’ll be very happy.” The album is full of superb musicianship and inventive groove-laden arrangements that will get you up off your ass moshing—and pissed-off, loud, powerful, gruff vocalizing—and amazingly, Incigeri can also sing melodically at the same time! “The Black Hand” is the epitome of fine hardcore. I love the sneaky air of the song “Hand & Crotch.” This number puts presumptuous idiots in their place big-time. “Balls” is pure, unadulterated cocky (get it?) ATTITUDE. You don’t want to piss off the guy being portrayed in “Who Told Ya That?” Not if you want to live to see another sunrise, anyway. “Our Thing” is an excellent “I’m not changing for you or taking any bullshit from you” song. “Where You Breathe” is full of “you better watch your step or else…” (for a clearer picture, check out the cover and CD art). “Powerland” starts like a panther on the prowl just waiting to pounce on its prey…and when it does…well, get the CD and listen for yourself. “I Killed Your Music” is hilarious. “Words” has a cool arrangement; it’s a must-hear. Of course, the star of this collection and most requested song at Shango shows is “Just Play The Fuckin’ Song.” Most of Shango’s lyrics are things that everyone dreams of saying to tell off the asshole faction of life, but most people are too polite to actually come out and say. Fun to think about, though. One spin of this CD and you’ll be hooked. I perused Shango’s extensive and impressive pile of press-clippings and credits. They have taken some flak for their “ballsiness,” but I believe that comes from people who take everything way too seriously and just don’t get the point of it. People who don’t know how to relax, enjoy the music and have fun. This collection of no-holds-barred, pure modern power-groovin’ thrashy hardcore metal asskickers rocks and rules.
To order “Metal Mafia,”
please send $14 to:
P. O. Box 58368
Louisville, KY 40268-0368
This is not for the lily-livered, the faint-of-heart or the self-righteous. Although a healthy dose of Shango might just be what the doctor ordered to knock some sense into them and toughen them up.