Artist: HEELE (Michael Henss)
Single: ‘Still Intact;’ Released: June 25, 2021; Producer: Michael Henss
Reconciling with the emotions that accompany the memories of their formative and adolescent years is a powerful inspiration for many musicians. Singer-songwriter-instrumentalist-producer Michael Henss, who records and performs under the stage name HEELE, is one such artist who proves he isn’t afraid of delving into his past in order to better understand the trajectory of the rest of his life. He did just that with his captivating industrial rock single, ‘Still Intact,’ which was released this past summer.
The inspiration for the gritty song from the New Haven, Connecticut-based musician came from a long-lost home video from his early childhood. Taking inspiration from such fellow alternative and industrial-rock bands as Nine Inch Nails and Failure, Henss infused ‘Still Intact’ with a captivating blend of heavy electric guitar riffs and dynamic drum beats that are masterfully interwoven with occasional acoustic strings. He has an uncanny ability to channel his influences through not only his instrumentals, but also his lyrics and vocals, which helped create an equally retro and original track. He also naturally infused elements of metal into his instrumentals and vocals, which helps create melodic, resonating hooks and holistic beats that won’t soon be forgotten.
The tense, but equally soulful, ‘Still Intact’ is an epic exploration into how the artist contends with the endless emotions that nostalgic experiences bring into his life. His darkly hued vocals suggest that revisiting his past can at times be a harrowing experience, but he’s able to survive the emotions that continuously arise from the situations he faced as a child. Henss also expresses the relatable feeling of wishing for the chance to relive the past through a different mindset.
Despite the tune’s dark-rock theatrics at times, ‘Still Here’ is a powerful anthem about the importance of people learning from their past mistakes, no mater what inspired their actions. He also emotionally notes that he has to atone for his past actions, even if they weren’t always his fault. He’s learned how to better deal with the bitterness he’s felt for the past along the way, which has helped him become more confident in himself and his place in the world.
As a musician, Henss has never been afraid to explore dark and honest themes through his songs, which is clearly evident on ‘Still Intact.’ The alternative-indie-industrial rock single is driven by a stunning blend of heavy electric guitar riffs and dynamic drum beats that support the singer’s emotional vocals and relatable lyrics. The relatable track is an epic exploration into how the artist contends with the endless emotions that nostalgic experiences bring into his life, and encourages his listeners to learn how to embrace the past in order to survive the present and future.