MK Ultra – Generation Dead
By: Arlene Allen
I first discovered independent artist MK Ultra in early 2016 when I fell in love with his explosive and expressive video “Hollywood Holocaust.” MK made his opinions on the state of the music industry and the nation in general quite clear and his grinding music took no prisoners. The EP of the same name was captivating musical expression and experimentation, with catchy songs that stayed with you (I still find myself bopping along to “X-Rated” in my head sometimes). There are several things I most admire about MK is his honesty, his dedication to his art and drive for uniqueness and his passion. His latest release, Generation Dead, expresses all of this and more.
The album opens with the grinding, power rock song “Opiate Nation.” Some of the themes of Generation Dead is obsession, numbness and apathy and this song tells the tale of a nation besieged by all three. Even though MK’s voice is at times wistful and plaintive, he’s definitely not afraid to call anyone out. I love the driving, shredding guitar work on this song. It’s an electric kick in the butt. It’s followed by “Bonnie And Clyde Equals Me,” another song with excellent guitar sound. Those guitar riffs are insane and one of the things I love best about MK’s music. The song is about the cult of personality and would have worked so well as the theme song for the most recent season of the show “American Horror Story: Cult.”
“It’s Only Killing” slows the pace down a bit. It’s trancelike, hypnotic and a bit psychedelic. It perfectly encapsulates the song’s theme about the numbness and apathy society seems to have embraced regarding mass murder. Yes, MK isn’t afraid to take his lyrics to the edge and take a stand on issues he strongly believes in. His honesty is also apparent in “Obsessive,” a song that deals with his struggle with anorexia amongst other things. My favorite guitar sound is back and we start to hear a punk/thrash hybrid style emerge musically. On the other hand, the next song “Asylum” (which addresses mental illness) has an EDM feel while “Generation Dead” is pure punk. It’s a song you could hear the Ramones performing. It’s an angry song about non-conformity – always a strong message in punk – advising listeners “don’t let society consume you.”
“We Had It All” is another grinding song, a track about failed love with shredding guitars and hard driving drums that hammer home the message of loss. The final song on the album is “Another Lover,” a duet with his friend and fellow musician and performance artist JayyVon Monroe. This is a slow, sad breakup song that is haunting and beautiful, mainly because of the vocal intensity of its two singers. MK and JayyVon’s voices are a perfect match and blend very well with each other.
It’s very hard to pick favorites on this album, but I think “Another Lover,” “Generation Dead,” Obsessive” and “Opiate Nation” would top my list. I admire MK’s musical creativity, diversity and experimentation .I’m also appreciative of his vocal range, which goes from whisper soft to in-your-face in mere seconds.
It deserves mentioning that MK served as executive producer on the album and co-produced it with Monark. MK plays that guitar and then processes it through Pro-Tools. Producer Monark also plays on the record while MK wrote all of the songs.
If you like independent music and edgy artists who aren’t afraid to push boundaries, check out MK Ultra Band and Generation Dead. You can celebrate with MK and his followers, known as “Evil Ones,” this weekend as the video for “Obsessive” is released. You can follow MK Ultra on social media at: