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I have to start out by being perfectly honest, I had no expectations of liking this CD. It had that hip-hop/metal vibe and it so seldom works there was no reason to expect this would be any different. But upon reading the press release there was a glimmer of hope as they make a point of differentiating themselves from the Limp Bizkit crowd and their clones.
The album opens up with a little Medeski, Martin, and Wood-like drum and bass groove for a few bars (good start) before launching into the main riff of Existence. Trade off vocals mixing rap sections with singing keeps the album interesting throughout. Sacrifice features a Chili Peppersish guitar part under the laid back groove provided by the sure-footed rhythm section of Sean Garden on drums and Steve Faulkner on bass. Friends and Family, a soothing sing-along, really displays some diversity from this hip-hop outfit. Father recounts being mistreated by, guess who? Dad. But, contrary to many other pissed-off songs like every Korn tune, this doesn’t get into that self-pity mode and is therefore tolerable. New York Groove, with its wah guitar and sparse bass line, is aptly named and impossible not to like. All I can envision is Fat Albert or Shaft strolling down the street being their bad old selves.
One of the biggest problems I have with rap and the current trend of hip hop passing itself off as R&B is the fact that the spacebar is not an instrument. Motown was about feel and that gets lost on a lot of the new generation I think. Samples and drum machines are completely contrary to what groove is all about. That said, this album is chock full of groove and feel. These guys are deep in the pocket on every tune. It’s pretty much impossible to sit still listening to this record.
Trik Turner really do a good job of mixing up the hardcore rapping and traditional parts. Black Sheep and the last few tunes have the most heavy rapping of all the songs but again the grove laid down by the rest of the band provides more than enough diversion if this isn’t your cup of tea.
Let It Rip closes the album except for a short outro (aptly titled Outro) and really brings the album full circle with heavy guitar riffs and lots of cool vocals doing “whoa whoa’s” in the background. This is a custom made show closer.
If jackasses like Fred Durst turned you away from the rap/metal thing, check out Trik Turner and see what musicians with talent for music instead of talent for running off at the mouth can do.
John Rovnan is a staff writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.