Paul Howey – Plug In

Paul Howey
Plug In
1990 (no label)
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Paul Howey – Lead and backing vocals, synth-guitars, custom double kick drum kit, bass and keyboards

Side 1:

  1. The Kingdom
  2. Plug In
  3. Without God

Side 2:

  1. Can’t Go On
  2. Life Long Dream

This is the first demo (as far as I can tell) from “one man band” Paul Howey. Just like his 1991 demo Looking Glass, I am not sure exactly what sound he is going for here. His reliance on guitar synths and keyboards gives this an industrial feel, but his songwriting style leans towards a more progressive rock/metal sound. Takes a lot of work for one person to do all of this, even if on keyboards, so bonus points for that. The songwriting is pretty solid, as well – I could see this sounding great in a studio with a full band to realize it. Well, depending on what direction they go. This music really wouldn’t work as full on industrial music.

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Paul Howey – Looking Glass

Paul Howey
Looking Glass
1991 (no label)
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Paul Howey – Lead and backing vocals, synth-guitars, custom double kick drum kit, bass and keyboards

Side 1:

  1. How Many Chances
  2. Looking Glass
  3. Master of Temptation

Side 2:

  1. You’re My Hero
  2. Some Promises

I’m not sure exactly what sound Howey is going for here – there is synth-guitar, keyboards, and programmed drums that give it a distinct industrial vibe. But the songwriting and vocal styles aren’t industrial… more hard rock/metal in nature. It could be that he wanted to do a metal sound and just didn’t have a band. But on the other hand, it could be that he just wanted to do industrial in this manner. One person said that his other album (Plug In from 1990) reminded them of early Xalt. I could see that. But this demo is mostly keyboard-y in nature. Not a bad job for a demo – he obviously wrote, played, and recorded these songs all himself. But if you have to have an easy to recognize genre… you might have a hard time categorizing this. Metalheads will see this as too light to be metal, but fans of rock will see it as too heavy or weird to mainstream rock. So I will call it “hard rock” until I find out if the goal was to be industrial or not from another source.