Rap Metal

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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Rage Against the Machine Album Cover Rage Against the Machine
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
4.02 | 67 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE The Battle of Los Angeles Album Cover The Battle of Los Angeles
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
3.88 | 50 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Evil Empire Album Cover Evil Empire
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
3.83 | 31 ratings
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BIOHAZARD State Of The World Address Album Cover State Of The World Address
BIOHAZARD
3.80 | 12 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Renegades Album Cover Renegades
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
3.62 | 22 ratings
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CLAWFINGER Clawfinger

Album · 1997 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
Clawfinger’s 1997 self-titled third album sees the band return to form after a rather average follow-up to their debut. While ‘Deaf Dumb Blind’ gave the Swedish rap-rockers some miner mainstream success and publicity, they mostly remained an obscure, unknown entity, especially with constantly shifting music trends. But then, since when has a band like Clawfinger cared about music trends?

Packed full of aggressive, non-stop rapid-fire lyrics and energetic, grooving and pumping guitar riffs, ‘Clawfinger’ is a shot of adrenaline that doesn’t give up until the closing moments of the album. Tackling the usual issues of politics, socialism, relationships and religion, the band is relentless and completely unapologetic in getting their message across. And it’s this tongue-in-cheek attitude that makes them so endearing.

The band has taken a huge step forward here in regards to song writing. Their lyrics are a lot more mature, and the music is much more polished, with more electronic and industrial influences, as well as Middle Eastern sounding phrases and female vocals too. Closing track ‘I Guess I’ll Never Know’ reflects on a friend who had committed suicide, and is incredibly sad and melancholic, with vocalist Zak Tell ditching the rapping for singing. Lines such as “with so much love around you I just wish you loved yourself” shows a group that have a lot more depth and meaning than simply lashing out at governments and social issues.

With highlights including ‘Two Sides’, ‘I’m Your Life & Religion’, ‘Not Even You’, ‘Biggest & The Best’, ‘Chances’, ‘Wrong State of Mind’ and the aforementioned closing track, ‘Clawfinger’ sees the band back on top form with another dose of high-quality, hard-hitting rap metal.

BONZ Broken Silence

Album · 2015 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
‘Broken Silence’ is the 2015 debut by Bonz, the original front man of rap-rock pioneers Stuck Mojo. After a second attempt at a reunion with his former band mates produced similar results as before (they’d attempted reunions in both 2005 and 2014, neither were able to sustain themselves for more than a number of shows), it was time for Bonz to step out on his own and break his silence.

Following on from his multiple tenures with Stuck Mojo, this is hard-hitting rap metal, with heavy, crunchy guitar riffs and energetic drumming accompanying Bonz’s spite-filled vocals, which are honest, brutal, and at times humorous. The raw and gritty production gives the album the sound it needs, giving everyone some clarity whilst not sounding overproduced, it sounds dirty, which is befitting of the lyrical themes, style of the music, and image of the band.

However, while there aren’t really any bad songs on the record, there is a major ingredient missing; “The Duke” Rich Ward.

Guitar mastermind of Stuck Mojo and Fozzy, Rich Ward’s groove laden guitar riffs were able to really get the best out of Bonz’s unique voice, which blended traditional rapping with punk and hardcore influences, and unmatched charisma. While ‘Broken Silence’ is a good effort, and certainly gives the man an avenue to voice his thoughts, everything seems just a little rigid without that swinging feeling of Ward’s songwriting and his signature guitar tones.

However, ‘Broken Silence’ is still a good album, and certainly has its moments. ‘Sinister Grin’, ‘Take It Personal’, ’30 Seconds to Swat’, ‘Godshine’ and the title track itself, which is no doubt a shot at his former band mates, are all decent tracks that make this record worth checking out. But if you really want to catch Bonz at his best, check out ‘Declaration of a Headhunter’, ‘Rising’, or ‘Pigwalk’ by Stuck Mojo. The guy is an absolute beast, and ‘Broken Silence’, while a good album, just doesn’t quite do him or his talents justice.

BODY COUNT Violent Demise: The Last Days

Album · 1997 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
Rapper Ice-T and his merry men are back with Body Count’s third studio album, ‘Violent Demise: The Last Days’. Released in 1997, it follows the disappointing ‘Born Dead’, which failed to capitalize on the unexpected and surprising success of the bands self-titled debut. However, with ‘Violent Demise’, the Californian gangsters return to the more brutal, cynical, yet tongue-in-cheek approach that made their first outing so unique for its time.

Starting off with a radio interview skit which sees the host attacking Ice-T over the poor reception of ‘Born Dead’, it’s evident that the group recognizes this and are setting out to rectify any issues. And they do it with a vengeance. With opening track, ‘My Way’, the band are instantly back to their aggressive and violent roots, with guitar riffs heavier than a tonne of concrete slabs and profanity-laden lyrics that will make your mother blush. Covering a host of traditional gangster rap subjects such as gang violence, racism and sex, the band are lashing out at society with both humour and pure hatred.

The musicianship itself is pretty good, and while this style of music isn’t typically known for virtuoso performances, the band members are tight, and the production gives the album a thick, punching sound that really re-establishes Body Count as a solid metal outfit. Ice-T’s vocals are a blend of rapping and generally shouting, but overall it works fantastically with the hardcore-inspired guitar riffs.

With the likes of ‘My Way’, ‘Violent Demise’, ‘Strippers’, ‘You’re Fuckin’ With BC’, ‘I Used to Love Her’ and ‘Dead Man Walking’, Body Count may not be able to recapture the mainstream success they had with their debut album, but it’s clear with ‘Violent Demise: The Last Days’ that this is a band who are more than just a side project, with well-written music of a high standard, this is a solid release that more than makes up for its predecessor.

BODY COUNT Born Dead

Album · 1994 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
Body Count’s 1992 self-titled debut album was a pretty big success for the band. Granted, that success came about due to the infamy and controversy surrounding the song ‘Cop Killer’, but the record itself was a solid effort. When renowned rapper and actor Ice-T put together a metal band, not many people thought it’d last, seeing it as a one-off endeavour. So it was no-doubt intriguing to see a follow-up released, and how did they capitalize on the success of ‘Body Count’?

They didn’t.

Released in 1994, ‘Born Dead’ takes everything that made its predecessor so good, and does away with it completely. The rapping has mostly been replaced by Ice-T constantly repeating the same phrase over and over, with very, very occasional bits of talking. The Lyrics, which once had meaning and were incredibly angry, satirical and lashing out at everything, are now dull, juvenile and pointless. The music seems pretty bland, and hell, even the skits between the tracks are gone. What previously gave the album a loose narrative and plot, is now just one uninspired song after another.

There are a couple of brief instances where the production and sound of the album suffers from dips in quality. I’d guess that this was thrown together in between Ice-T’s rapping and acting careers, as some parts sound rushed and disjointed. And a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic ‘Hey Joe’ seems so out of place here.

However, it’s not all gloom and doom. There’s a couple of moments which take me back to Body Count’s first outing, and reminds me why this band are so good. ‘Necessary Evil’ and ‘Born Dead’ are both decent enough tracks that prevent this album from getting a one-star rating, but overall, considering all the publicity the group had garnered with their debut, this is a disappointing follow-up.

CLAWFINGER Use Your Brain

Album · 1995 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
1995’s ‘Use Your Brain’ is the second album by Swedish rap rockers Clawfinger. It follows in the same vein as its predecessor, ‘Deaf Dumb Blind’, with similar compositions and a nearly identical sound, but it seems to lack the same youthful exuberance that made the latter such an engaging listen.

Mixing rapping vocals with metal guitar riffs long before the likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park gained worldwide fame, Clawfinger’s groove-laden music has always been about uncompromising, in-your-face attitude. With a dirty, gritty sound, and lyrics that spit in the face of political correctness, they’ve never been afraid to put themselves on the line.

Utilizing simple, yet striking guitar work with electronic samples, the band have an effective and fairly distinctive sound. Vocalist Zak Tell’s rapid fire delivery, which blends rapping with hardcore and punk rock elements, goes well with the music, and certainly paints a picture of an angry and frustrated band.

But unfortunately, ‘Use Your Brain’ just simply isn’t as good as the band’s debut. While it’s not a bad album, ‘Deaf Dumb Blind’ was consistently strong throughout, while here, we’re treated to a few moments of sheer genius being smothered by an abundance of filler material. But despite the weaker tracks, songs like ‘Power’, ‘Die High’, ‘Do What I Say’ and ‘Pay the Bill’ are all strong enough to stand next to anything the band have done before, and are all good reasons to at least give this album a chance.

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