Thursday, June 2, 2011

Acid Reign: Diversity

     Having been sent this album by Uncommon Records, and after a few listens, I came to the awkward conclusion that there are plenty of things I love about the music, but then some things I wouldn't listen to again. I therefore come to believe that this is a very mediocre, and in parts, quite an arrogant record. Acid Reign aren't the British thrash metal band from Harrogate, even though they share the same name. They are in fact, a rap trio from Los Angeles, made famous by the music scene LA Underground.
     Starting with the bad then. 'Diversity' contains some tracks that are unnecessarily vulgar, and some that sound plain, well, bad. 'Kiss Ass' is the worst track from this selection of sixteen, in my eyes. I am all for aggression and passionate anger in both rap and rock music, but this takes it to a whole new level. The song starts off, covered by a veil of crowd cheers and a pleasant drum beat. This veil is then ripped off by the claws of language and frankly, quite corny singing. After a while, this becomes almost bearable, but, as the song ends, a brick is thrown through the window of the song. What sounds like a torture scene, with a man urinating in anther's mouth with a bystander shouting, 'What is he doin'! Completely unnecessary, and an element that completely ruined the album, for me. In my eyes, rap music is a way of releasing aggression without physical violence. This track therefore, rubs a layer of grime into an otherwise pretty good album. Disappointing.
     Having said that, there is a lot to love about this record. The experimentation and sampled is executed well, as there is a good mix of rap and singing that adds diversity to the album, pun intended. The second track, 'The Man', is backed by fantastic gypsy sounding instruments, and the chorus is pretty catchy. 'Love Vs. Hate' and 'People Take Charge' are my favourite tracks, for various reasons. The latter is full of contrast, with the backing track made up of composed classical music that feels strangely suited to the lyrics and feel of the song. There is also again, a fantastic chorus. 'Love Vs. Hate' starts and is continuously interrupted by a foreign singer which again, contrasts nicely with the rest of the album. I also love the dark humour present on tracks like 'Devils Talk', with the Devil obviously attempting to sing and then angrily giving up at the end.
     As a whole album, there is definitely a playful feel to some tracks, but then the lyrics on others uncover overstressed ideas about violence and gangs, a side to the music some mightn't enjoy. On the subject of lyrics, an important factor in rap music, these aren't badly done. The mixture of rapping and then hybrid rap singing makes for an interesting listen, an experience amplified by the thoughtfully written words that more often than not, match the atmosphere the sound of the songs are trying to induce quite well.
     Overall, this isn't the best rap album out there, a downfall pushed down by one song that stands out as deliberately and thoughtlessly produced. There are glimpses of brilliance here and there, but after repeated listen, there is a lot of mediocrity that doesn't plead with me for another. A good effort though, I will definitely look out for the next installment in Acid Reign's discography.