Alternative Filipino heavy metal band Halik ni Gringo is back with their new rock anthem, “Home Alone,” that will be one of the lead singles from their upcoming and long-awaited second album.
Unlike the classic film that bears the same title, the new song is no laughing matter.
Like many recording artists who released songs and albums in this pandemic, “Home Alone” explores themes of social deprivation and paranoia.
“I got COVID-19 and had to isolate myself and do things on my own,” bared Halik ni Gringo frontman DJ Joey Santos. “You are taken away from the things you love and even take for granted and are forced to confront so many heavy things such as life, death, and not being able to do the things you love.”
When Halik ni Gringo came out with their debut album "The Call of Booty" in 2014, they sounded and even had the same vibe of American band Powerman 5000 with a penchant for humor and pulp science fiction wrapped around industrial metal. But the album seemed like an ode to Jack Sparrow – pirates of the high seas with a slab of heavy metal.
“’The Call of Booty’ was raging hormones, man,” Santos said with a laugh. “That was a different time. And we were into steampunk and cyberpunk too but done in a metal sort of way.”
And time in between life and COVID-19, has a way of changing one’s perspective and even style.
“It wasn’t always about the pandemic,” said Santos who also produced the album. “Work began on the second album as early as 2014 but when the pandemic and lockdown hit us, what we went through became the overriding emotion and theme.”
The accompanying artwork to the single shows a raging Santos. It’s no Macaulay Culkin with the palms of his hands on his face after dousing them with after shave. It could be part zombie, part letting loose.
While older and the effects of the pandemic clearing affecting the band, they have not lost their sense of humor.
“Sometimes, we deal with the bad with dark humor,” quipped Santos. “And that included passing audio files from one to another as we are all over the place and in varying degrees of lockdown.”
“It’s 2022 and yet, I feel it’s like we’re stuck in 2020 as our country lags behind many other countries in treatment for the virus. These thoughts and feelings have been swirling in my thoughts for quite a while now, and weaving them into song was not only a means to an expression, but also a form of catharsis. Looking back at that time, there are glimmers of hope that you take with you today.”
The track is a taste of the group's upcoming 2022 full-length album under floppydisks which includes previous singles "Injustice For All” and “Mr. Big Data.” As with past releases, the LP is still a part of the group's ongoing #2stDebutAlbum effort -- now on its 5th year, having started back in 2017.
“What makes the upcoming new album different,” Santos said, “it’s not ranging hormones, but we do as a band, have a story to tell.”