Rap Metal

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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Rage Against the Machine Album Cover Rage Against the Machine
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
4.01 | 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
3.89 | 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
3.84 | 12 ratings
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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Renegades Album Cover Renegades
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
3.63 | 22 ratings
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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 The rapping has mostly been replaced by Ice-T constantly repeating the same phrase over and over, with very, very occasional bits of talking.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.

BODY COUNT Violent Demise: The Last Days

Album · 1997 · Rap Metal
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UMUR
"Violent Demise: The Last Days" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US heavy/crossover metal act Body Count. The album was released through Virgin Records in March 1997. There´s been one lineup change since "Born Dead (1994)", as bassist Mooseman has been replaced by Griz, who also handles loops and samples. "Violent Demise: The Last Days" would be the last Body Count album to feature drummer Beatmaster V, as he died of leukemia shortly after recording the album. The album is dedicated to him.

The music on "Violent Demise: The Last Days" is unmistakably the sound of Body Count. That means a hybrid rock/metal style which includes elements from rap, hardcore/punk, crossover thrash, traditional heavy metal, and blues. Calling this rap metal would be wrong, although several tracks on the album features rap style vocals, but Ice-T predominantly sings/shouts.

The 16 track, 46:09 minutes long album features both "regular" tracks and quite a few shorter intros/interludes. Typically with Ice-T talking about what the next track is about in a humourous fashion. The lyrical themes ranges from tales about gang violence/ghetto issues, social/political commentary, and bragging about sexual adventures ("Strippers" is for example quite explicit). The quality of the material is generally pretty high, and for the most part relatively metallic and aggressive in sound.

"Violent Demise: The Last Days" features a well sounding and powerful Howard Benson production, which suits the music well. The musicianship is also on a high level, and all in all "Violent Demise: The Last Days" is a pretty good quality release by Body Count. Definitely a step up from the rather disjointed "Born Dead (1994)". It doesn´t quite match the excellence of the debut album, but it´s still enjoyable in it´s own right and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

STUCK MOJO HVY1

Live album · 1999 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
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.

STUCK MOJO Violated

EP · 1996 · Rap Metal
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martindavey87
'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.

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