A little more than a year ago, Hyro The Hero announced to the world that he was working on a new project dubbed Kids Against The Monsters. The record was originally scheduled for release last year, but that obviously did not happen. Why that is the case is anyone’s guess. That is beside the point. The announcement came as part of a bigger announcement that he had released a new single titled ‘Legendary.’ Fast forward to this weekend. The long-awaited project (originally called a “mixtape,” now being marketed as an EP) was finally released Friday. The four-song record is an enjoyable albeit imperfect presentation from the up-and-coming rap-rock star. To its positive, it features three songs that the rap-rock star (a.k.a. Hyron Louis Fenton, Jr.) crafted in 2021. On the opposite side, it is lacking other songs that he crafted last year. This will be examined a little later. One last item to note is the record’s sequencing, which will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Kids Against The Monsters. All things considered, they make a record that although imperfect, gives hope for Hyro The Hero’s next record.
Kids Against The Monsters, the long-awaited “mixtape” project from Hyro The Hero, is a mostly welcome filler between his then latest album, 2019’s Flagged Channel, and his next studio recording. Hopefully that new record will come sooner rather than later, but that is entirely up to him. The record works in part because of the songs that it features. Four songs make up the EP’s body. They include the EP’s title song, which features a guest appearance by Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor, and three singles that he released last year, ‘FU2 (ft. AJ Channer),’ ‘We Believe (ft. David Draiman)’ and ‘Fight (ft. Chad Grey).’ All four songs are impressive in their own right, because each offers audiences something different from its counterparts. The EP’s opener, for example, is a heavily blues-tinged rocker that conjures thoughts of songs from Imagine Dragons and others of that ilk. Taylor’s vocals are almost indiscernible to be honest. The subtle use of the turntables and the beats makes for such a great hip-hop vibe. The whole here makes the song so enjoyable in its own right.
‘FU2 (ft. AJ Channer)’ takes audiences in a completely different direction with its high energy approach and its socially conscious lyrical theme. Fenton points the finger at what the world has become in the song’s lyrical theme. That and the energy in the intense nu-metal approach is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Again, it is the polar opposite of the EP’s opener, and that is a very good thing.
‘We Believe (ft. David Draiman)’ takes Fenton’s modern rap leanings and pairs it with a melodic hard rock approach to make the song enjoyable right from the get go. The heavy bass used in the verses clearly exhibit those hip-hop leanings. Draiman’s vocals make for a positive counterpoint to those of Fenton here, making for even more engagement and entertainment. The whole becomes a song that holds its own identity separate from the record’s first two songs, again showing the importance of the record’s featured songs.
‘Fight (ft. Chad Gray)’ is yet another change of pace sure to keep audiences engaged and entertained. That is because it takes audiences back to the sounds and stylistic approaches that made Flagged Channel so enjoyable. The addition of Gray’s vocals to the song makes for another welcome contrast to those of Fenton, in turn adding even more to the song’s appeal. The song’s lyrical theme, which is yet another socially conscious message, adds even more to the song’s appeal.
For all of the enjoyment that the songs featured in this record guarantees, there could have been more music included in the EP. That is because it does not feature all of the songs that Fenton crafted last year. He also released another single, titled ‘Retaliation Generation’ alongside Ice Nine Kills front man Spencer Charnas. That song and ‘Legendary’ are each enjoyable in their own right because of their own musical and lyrical content. Why Fenton decided not to included the songs in this record is also anyone’s guess. It would have brought the record’s total song count to six, and in turn made the record even more enjoyable. That is because they are just as unlike one another as they are from the songs featured in the EP and as they are from one another. So to that end, not including these two songs in the EP is obviously not enough to make the EP a failure, but it certainly would have made the EP’s presentation so much more positive.
Keeping this in mind, there is still one more item to examine. That item is the record’s sequencing. There are, again, only four songs featured in the EP, but their sequencing ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the songs themselves. That is because from beginning to end, it ensures the record’s energy remains stable even as the song styles and sounds change. The whole thing opens with the noted bluesy hip-hop opus before really picking things up in ‘FU2’. The energy keeps flowing in ‘We Believe’ and continues in ‘Fight’. In other words, from start to end, the EP’s sequencing sees the record interesting because of its role in the general effect, doing even more to keep things interesting for listeners. When this is considered along with the songs themselves, the record proves even more worth hearing.
Kids Against The Monsters, the newly released EP from Hyro The Hero, is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new EPs. That is due in part to its featured songs. The songs featured in the record are singles that he released last year. Each is different from one another in its sound and style while their lyrical themes will resonate easily with any listener in their own way. From the socially conscious to the more personal, each theme has something worthwhile to offer. While the songs featured in the record do plenty to make the EP appealing, the lack of two other songs that he released last year detracts from the record’s presentation. It is not enough to make the EP a failure, but the record would certainly have benefited from their inclusion. That aside, the EP is still mostly successful. Its sequencing ensures that in its own right. That is because it makes sure the record’s energy stays stable even as the sounds, styles and themes change from one song to the next. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the EP one more of the best of its field so far this year.
Kids Against The Monsters is available now. More information on Hyro The Hero’s new EP is available online now along with all of Hyro The Hero’s latest news and more at: