Favorite track: DIET_
Oh my goddddddd. I think this album seriously affirmed in my head that Kenny Beats is one of the best producers in the game right now. Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats are seriously a match made in heaven.
This album has a lot of fun samples all throughout... Kenny himself has mentioned that this album was a bit Madlib-influenced, and it shows. I personally always liked how he didn't use alot of the usual trap-style percussion, and he seems to have a bit more fun with the drum track on this album. I think the DIET_ drums really go harddddd because it mixes that booming bass with this real jungle-y beat. Each song has a morphing and changing instrumental that almost takes you on a journey.. which is pretty impressive, considering how SHORT each song is! AM I EVEN MAKING SENSE? KENNY BEATS JUST FUCKS HARD DUDE.
Denzel's energy perfectly complements the super active instrumental, with his flow and tone changing sooo organically. I'm gonna keep going hard on DIET_ because I love it so much. He starts off with a pretty calm tone, gradually ramping it up 'til he's just yelling at you when he hits the hook, when the instrumental hits its final form. It's like Denzel and Kenny are on the exact same wavelength! When Denzel changes up his flow to work with the beat switchup on Take_it_Back_v2, you can still feel the beat changing to match and accentuate his bars, which just leads to banger after banger.
I should probably talk about the actual bars, huh? The flow mixed with his lyricism is just so MENACING. Diabolical, even. His wordplay is still fire as usual ("Harry Potter clip filled with deadly ass hollows" UGH!!) If I'm being honest, there's not much I can say other than just making a long ass list of lines that I thought were hard, which would just end up making this review a Genius lyrics page for the entire album. Denzel spits so hard on every track that it's overwhelming.
Overall, you really can tell that this album was a quick little passion project between some friends. It's for real just such a BLASTTT. Apparently they're planning on making a sequel album, so I'm gonna be on the edge of my seat waiting for that to come out.
Sorry in advance for how this reads - it's hard to truly describe how hard this album goes. I just gotta gush about it. You really just have to listen to it yourself to get what I'm talking about.
Also, there's a series of music videos that compliment the album that are pretty fun. The art shifts can be a bit jarring (you'll go from claymation to a pretty amateur hand-drawn style) but it's still a fun watch. I particularly like the one for 'Cosmic'.m4a, I'm a sucker for that sorta style.
Favorite track: Lone Wolf and Cub
This is one of my favorite Thundercat projects, despite the fact that it's such a short listen. It only comes in at 16 minutes and 4 seconds, which is surprisingly short even for an EP.
If you're aware of some of Thundercat's other work, or even his general media presence, you might not completely expect what's going on with this record. The first song someone I know might mention when I bring him up is Dragonball Durag, that silly little single off It Is What It Is. However, his most impressive works are much more cerebral - with this little EP being a shining example of what Thundercat is capable of.
The lyrics on this album give off a very listless and lost vibe and focus a lot on death. You can kinda get that just off part of the album title - "The Beyond". This album seemingly follows the story of a man's journey in the afterlife, with a few interjected themes of heartbreak/loneliness in Them Changes and Lone Wolf and Cub. You can tell his inspiration probably came from other projects he was working on at the time of The Beyond's conception (i.e. You're Dead! by Flying Lotus and To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar). The only track that really stands out on here is Them Changes, which is a bit more upbeat (which makes sense since it was a single), but still manages to give a short interlude from the heavier, moodier songs.
The instrumentation perfectly compliments the depressive/existential feeling the lyrics give off. Thundercat's bass playing is the star of the show here, obviously. I love the way he'll slowly climb up a scale and gently go back down on Song for the Dead. The progression he's got going on Lone Wolf and Cub goes along perfectly with his singing, as well. Thundercat's voice has some heavy reverb on it that really gently blends with the music. Honorable mention goes to the keyboard, which is suuuper dreamy and soft.
Overall, The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam is a really beautiful album that you should really take a listen to. Frankly, you don't have much excuse not to - it's only 16 minutes long.
Favorite track: Spinning in Daffodils
Them Crooked Vultures is a sick as hell side project that I really hope sees a second wind someday. I just wanna say that if anyone tries to tell you this sounds just like Queens of the Stone Age 2, I will say that the similarities are definitely there but each musician in TCV brings their own strengths to the table. It's like QOTSA, but it isn't at the same time. Josh Homme (QOTSA, Kyuss) is on lead guitar and vocals, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) on drums, and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) on bass, keyboard, and everything else.
I've been obsessed with this album for a while, but during this particular listen through I discovered that songs I typically would skip actually were amazing, particularly Mind Eraser, No Chaser. The whole album is consistently amazing, with each new track seeming to be more hard-hitting than the last. Each song is jam packed full of heart-pumping instrumentation with Josh Homme's lyricism stringing you along for the rest of the journey. It's overwhelming in the best way possible, although it does graciously give you a break midway through with Interlude With Ludes.
It's hard to pin down the exact vibe of this record. It's violent and sinister but makes you feel like you just showed up to a party. Even then, you can feel the sincerity in the melodic passages of tracks like Elephants and Spinning In Daffodils. This record is just pure self-indulgence from some of the best rock musicians on the planet.
One thing I assume people say critically is that the songs and album in GENERAL are too long, although I'm not the type of guy who minds listening to long albums. One of my favorite live performances is a 7 minute song stretched out to 20 minutes so you can see how this doesn't bother me at all. I will say that it does sort of drag a little bit near the end with Warsaw, since that song in *particular* does really feel like they just recorded a jam sesh. The length does not add anything if you already dislike the music, so it all depends on your own personal enjoyment.
I will say though, I loved this album, if it wasn't already obvious. It's got a consistent intensity that I just adored listening to and kept me excited and on edge for the entire 66 minute runtime. It's just long enough that it doesn't keep you wanting there to be more, it goes on just long enough. Spinning in Daffodils perfectly and explosively caps off the record in 7 minutes. Although after 11 years and no new releases, I am still craving more from these guys.
Favorite track: March of the Pigs
Honestly, I really thought I was gonna dig this album given my history with enjoying industrial-type music, but I just couldn't really get into this one. My only previous experience with Nine Inch Nails is through the songs Closer and Only (Dirty), both of which are singles. Everything else I've heard about them from comes from the vague good things I would hear through the grapevine as well as my parents' own opinions (which were also positive). It's safe to say I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into and essentially had no expectations.
I know that harsh noises are a big part of the... well... INDUSTRIAL genre, but I don't think their particular brand of this music appeals to me very much. It's honestly too loud and difficult to parse what I'm even hearing. When the super loud percussion comes in while Trent is screaming with that filter over his voice (coupled with whatever other instrumentation is being layered over it), it just sounds like a bunch of garbled noise. Turning it up doesn't help because then it just hurts my ears, and turning it down just makes it even harder to tell what's going on, and I'm a guy who usually listens to music at ear-splitting volumes. Other than the voice filter bugging me, I also feel like Trent's voice is just mixed too far into the background, but that could very well be the fault of my headphones. I didn't bother listening to it through a speaker or anything else to avoid bothering anyone within my immediate vicinity.
HOWEVER, I will say I do enjoy the juxtaposition of the loud chaos with the quieter little piano segments by the end of songs like Piggy and Closer. Speaking of Closer, I personally feel like that's the most "listenable" track on the album for anyone who doesn't particularly enjoy this group's style or just doesn't like music that feels like it's assaulting you. You'd expect that to be my favorite song on the album considering how much I enjoyed it beforehand, but the one exception to my complains is March of the Pigs. It's a weird track with the exact kind of varying dynamics I pointed out, with lyrics that I just generally really dig also adding to that feel ("Take the skin and peel it back" / "Now doesn't that make you feel better?")
Halfway through the album I had already turned the volume down a bit and zoned out and only tuned back in when I heard Big Man with a Gun. I enjoyed the music, but not the lyrics. I'm aware that's precisely the point of the song, and have heard other songs with similar themes, but I just didn't dig the lines on this one. Not liking the lyrics on this album was a consistent issue for me, although I do make exceptions for Mr. Self Destruct and Closer. This feels like an album I would have enjoyed in high school, a time when I was really going through some stuff and needed songs that felt like a masochistic punch in the gut. Nowadays the lyrics disturb me, which, again, is the whole point, but I still want to give credit where credit's due. Overall, it's not really for me, but I'll still keep listening to their singles.