It’s not enough for Brooklyn hard rockers Sun & Flesh to simply live by Sartre’s affirmation that “hell is other people”‘ – in their eyes it’s everyone, at least so far as their latest single, ‘Hell Is People’, is concerned, and they don’t even exclude themselves in that condemnation.
Hell is by no means a new subject to hard rock bands – if anything it’s on the top 5 of topics covered -allusions to hell, the encouragement of devilry, and the use of diabolic imagery are all big themes when it comes to hard rock and heavy metal music. It’s uncertain however how many of them consider what it actually means, beyond the lip service to the dark side. ‘Hell Is People’ however sees Sun & Flesh come up with a truly infernal piece; rather than the caricaturised version of a pitchfork-wielding devil, in frontman Christoph Manuel’s unsparing and quite frank lyrics, we see that it’s being in close quarters with others, and being confined with theirs and our own bad habits. In these days of Covid-19, many of us who have had to share our homes with others 24/7 for months on end might have some idea of how that feels. Manuel has clearly considered carefully the significance of each word, leaving no doubt at all about the implications. He’s backed up by his band and their sound has a ferocity that draws inspiration from industrial music, the best of 90s alternative rock, and maybe even a smidge of contemporary pop. With Jonathan Serwinowski on drums, Matt Brewster on bass, and Stefan Reinberger on guitar, the group work together as a tight unit, each member providing a platform for their bandmates to showcase their talents.
The video for ‘Hell Is People’ shows demonic imagery superimposed digitally over footage of them in performance, and additionally – with maybe surprisingly good acting – sees the band members trapped with each other, doing their best to control their annoyance and rage at being also caged with each other’s quirks and habits. It’s a touring van lit large, and one that never reaches its destination, and there’s opportunity for relief – ever.
Watch the sinister video for ‘Hell Is People’ below. Find out more about Sun & Flesh and their music by visiting their official website.