SANG ENEMY WITHIN?

Hujan
Sang Enemy
(Morning Rocket/Warner)

AS Noh sang “Jeritan tempur/ Ini kebangkitan satu perjuangan/ Kami berlawan biar sampai mati/ Mempertahankan ini rumah kita” on the album lead single, Rumah Kita, prior to Sang Enemy release, it hinted that a change was about to come. The youthful, joyful and cheeky Hujan many known them as, appears to have grown up into a rebellious, angry young men. Well, at least that was the impression.

True enough, Sang Enemy turned out to be Hujan’s heaviest album to date, too heavy, at times, it feels like you are listening to “this new metalcore band.” Which shouldn’t be the case because; Hujan IS this generation’s equivalent to Search or Wings and not a new band that is still toying with ideas and possibilities with their music.

Album opener, Janji Kita felt like a hard slap to the face, not to the band’s diehards that are Raingers, but to the general public who relates and connect to the Hujan that brought them Bila Aku Sudah Tiada, Aku Scandal, Muda, Dugaannya, Kotak Hati, Kau Harus Ada, Pagi Yang Gelap to name a few. The song was a combination of metallic riffs, screams, breakdowns, Sape plucks by Jerry Kamit and special appearance by Yuna. Speaking of which, in Hujan’s previous life, the thought of them collaborating with Yuna alone is near orgasmic, however here, Yuna’s role as a guest singer was reduced to a mere background vocals, with effects that drowns Yuna’s magical voice, which is rather disappointing.

Janji Kita was followed by Rumah Kita, a great sing along anthem that is heavy and metallic yet distinctively Hujan. Together with the brilliant Malik Ridzuan’s Kuala Lumpur Oh Kuala Lumpur remake, both in my opinion, should have been the template for their heavier and more metal sound.

It’s not all about the band letting off their metal steam though; non-Raingers might find solace in DBS (Dia Bukan Segalanya) and Kembara. Ke Selatan could have been in this category if only it ended at the 2:40 minutes mark. Beyond that, the song sounded like a three songs pasted together.

In its entirely, Sang Enemy did captured Hujan at its best, technically and production-wise. However, these were never the elements that made them the biggest band in the country at the first place. If one recall it correctly, Hujan touched thousands of Malaysians not with complexities, but with simplicities of their song and melody; frontman Noh Salleh’s honest, sometimes goofy lyrics and singing; which both, rarely made its presence felt here.

If you are old (and pop) enough to remember, back in 2000 local pop group, KRU, who was in their creative peak and wanted to explore the possibilities within their music and sound. The brothers were wise enough to not to use the brand KRU but instead came up with an alter ego called TYCO, lauded as Malaysia’s first ever animated group. The album didn’t do as well and as contingency, the group immediately dropped their eighth studio album in the same year. At the end of it, the brothers were happy that they got to let off their creative steam and then happily went back to business that was KRU.

Hujan should have taken the same route when they decided to take their music direction to what we all now know today as Sang Enemy. Then again, I’m only a has-been music critic with very shallow knowledge in today’s trend in music as well as its business, so I’m probably dead wrong. The band probably had tricks or plans up their sleeves and knows things better, I sincerely hope they do because Hujan was one of the best things that happened to Malaysian music in the last five year and losing them is not something I would want to see.

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