Rap Metal

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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Rage Against the Machine Album Cover Rage Against the Machine
4.01 | 66 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE The Battle of Los Angeles Album Cover The Battle of Los Angeles
3.89 | 49 ratings
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BIOHAZARD State Of The World Address Album Cover State Of The World Address
3.98 | 11 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Evil Empire Album Cover Evil Empire
3.83 | 30 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Renegades Album Cover Renegades
3.63 | 22 ratings
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Live album · 1999 · Rap Metal
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I'm not usually one for listening to live albums. Sure, if I like a band, I'll certainly go out and buy everything they release (damn collector OCD), but for the most part, I prefer the crisp and clear sound of a studio recording. However, with that said, Stuck Mojo were, and always will be, a live tour de force, and any live offering from these rap metal pioneers will certainly be worth the purchase.

Performing music that is tailor-made for mosh pits, Stuck Mojo were always about energetic performances that leave all their contemporaries in the dust, and it's clearly evident that the crowds featured on this album, from recordings in Atlanta, Georgia and Barcelona in Spain, are at an absolute fever-pitch throughout.

What makes the Mojo so incredible live is the boundless passion, showmanship and banter between each member. While the songs are mostly performed as they sound on their respective studio recordings, it's the stuff that takes place between the songs that make this such a joy to listen to. In particular, vocalist Bonz and guitarist Rich Ward confidently and charismatically engage the fans in such a way, that's it just as much fun to hear them talk as it is to hear them play.

'HVY1' consists of pretty much every Mojo classic from what could be considered "chapter one" of their career. 'Rising', 'Enemy Territory', '2 Minutes of Death', 'Southern Pride', 'Mental Meltdown', 'Not Promised Tomorrow' and 'Throw the Switch'... they're all here! The inclusion of two new songs, 'Reborn' and 'My Will', serves as icing on the cake, and a hidden track which is mostly five minutes of the band rambling on stage and interacting with the audience is an absolute joy to listen to.

As I've said before, I've never really been the biggest advocate of live albums, but I truly cannot praise this release enough! Not only are the songs performed immaculately, but it's the chemistry between the band members and the audience that make this essential listening for anyone looking to be a true performer.


EP · 1996 · Rap Metal
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'Violated' is a six-song EP by rap metal band Stuck Mojo, released prior to the groups second album, 'Pigwalk', and originally intended only for European audiences.

The disc consists of four studio recordings, including early versions of 'Violated' and 'Back in the Saddle' (titled 'U.B.Otch' here), which would go on to appear on the 'Pigwalk' and 'Rising' albums respectively, (and much-improved, I might add). A Black Sabbath cover, and EP exclusive 'Pizza Man' are also included, and these are probably the only reasons to own this disc. Especially the latter, which is actually a really cool song, despite only being just over two minutes long!

Then there's two live tracks. Personally, I'm always sceptical about early rock releases like this with "live" songs. The quality is very raw, and the audience sound pretty fake, but either way, they're not really songs I'm bothered about.

Stuck Mojo are easily one of my all-time favourite bands, and guitarist Rich Ward is one of my absolute heroes as a musician, but overall, this release is one for the die-hard fans (and surely I'm not the only one!). The music is rough and gritty and the attitude and energy is easily apparent, but there's not really anything here that is either relevant or not improved-upon with later recordings.

STUCK MOJO Violate This

Boxset / Compilation · 2001 · Rap Metal
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Consisting of various demos, b-sides and other "rarities", Stuck Mojo's compilation album 'Violate This' works as a nice bookend to the first chapter of their career. With constant tension between the members, the band were falling apart, and while this line-up would eventually call it quits, it would be six years of periodic gigging as-and-when anyone was available, before the band would bounce back with a new vocalist and a new album.

With that said, 'Violate This' is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the demos are completed and mastered, or at the very least, of a high quality, while some of them are very primitive, and taken directly from cassette tapes. The better quality ones are the standout tracks by far. 'Ten Years', 'Revolution', and in particular, a re-recorded version of 'Not Promised Tomorrow' off of their debut album, are all fantastic offerings that make this a worthwhile purchase.

Most of the other songs are hit-or-miss though. There's demos from some of the bands most beloved tracks, though the raw sound and the differences to the arrangements make these far inferior to the finished products. There's a couple of covers which feature Devin Townsend on vocals, though the quality is so naff they're not very listenable. And there's a number of demos from the groups early days. While the rap/rock crossover was already apparent, there's a more funk and groove vibe than a metal one. The songs are alright, though nothing special, serving only to show how the Atlanta foursome have evolved from their humble beginnings.

Other than the aforementioned, 'Hate Must Be a Gift' and 'No Pride, No Respect' are also noteworthy songs. Though sadly, everything else is mostly forgettable, and will probably only appeal to die-hard fans (are there any others besides me?!). Overall, 'Violate This' isn't a bad release, and there's enough good material to justify owning it. And the booklet, which features a biography, liner notes and pictures, is a nice touch. But if you're new to Stuck Mojo, or just a casual fan, go with any of their studio albums instead.

CLAWFINGER Deaf Dumb Blind

Album · 1993 · Rap Metal
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The early 90's saw an influx of bands that were blending rock and metal with hardcore and hip-hop influences. Rage Against the Machine were probably the most commercially successful, but there were a number of bands around the world that were also making contributions, such as Stuck Mojo and Body Count from the United States, H-Blockx from Germany, and one of the lesser known pioneers of what would come to be known as "rap metal", Sweden's Clawfinger.

While Clawfinger's music is fairly straightforward, it's the uncompromising attitude of the band, and in particular, the unsparing lyrics of vocalist Zak Tell, that makes them so endearing. The songs are energetic, with some simple yet infectious guitar riffs that aren't overly flashy but are enough to get heads banging. And Tell may not be a legit "rapper" by any stretch, but his hardcore-inspired style gives the music the exact grittiness and rawness it needs.

The lyrics are fairly cheesy at times, spouting out the usual anti-governmental hip-hop clichés that lambast war, racism, corruption, and society in general, but they're also sincere and catchy, and at times show a group that aren't afraid to be a little tongue-in-cheek. And in all fairness, the rapid-fire rhymes are actually fairly impressive when you consider that English isn't the groups first language.

'Deaf Dumb Blind' is a solid debut by Clawfinger, and while this type of music may not appeal to everyone, standout songs such as 'The Truth', 'Don't Get Me Wrong', 'Warfair', 'Rosegrave', 'I Need You' and the awkwardly titled 'Nigger' are all perfect examples of why rap metal shouldn't be so casually ignored.

STUCK MOJO The Great Revival

Album · 2008 · Rap Metal
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One year after their return from a seven year hiatus and Stuck Mojo are at it again. Back with Lord Nelson on vocals, the southern born killers released 'The Great Revival', which pushes the envelope further with their more rock-inspired sound and even more non-metal influences creeping into the compositions. Safe to say, if you didn't like their previous album, you'll hate this one.

While 'The Great Revival' features the trademark Stuck Mojo sound, there's a complete smorgasbord of genres mashed together in various places, with hints of country, soul, gospel and pop music all finding their way onto the record. There's a lot of singing on here, including female vocals, and as a whole there's a very "bubbly", radio-friendly vibe about this album (don't expect to hear any of these on the radio, though).

Of course, none of this is bad per se, but if you're a long-time fan of the band who isn't open-minded to different things, this certainly won't win many people over. However, despite all the changes to their sound, this is, in my opinion (and hey, this is my review after all), a really good album. I love when bands try new things, and as a long-time fan of guitarist Rich Ward, I'm a sucker for anything he releases.

Songs like '15 Minutes of Fame', 'Friends' (yep, I like that song), 'Now That You're All Alone' and 'Invincible' are all solid rap rock songs. They may not have the heaviness or aggression of Stuck Mojo's earlier albums, but there is still an abundance of Rich Ward's signature riffs that will please the metal fans.

As is the case with any artist, experimentation can prevent stagnation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Props to Stuck Mojo for trying new things, and as far as I'm concerned it worked out. So why only three stars? Admittedly, this is probably still their weakest album, and while it is good, their earlier material is just so damn awesome!

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