Thursday, August 4, 2011

REVIEW//Adam Warlock: Dark Weapons (from Mars)

     First up, the cover to Adam Warlock's album 'Dark Weapons (from Mars)'. Yeah. If you're a fan of great album art, this is probably not the best you've ever seen, but the sound in parts makes up for it. The story and feeling behind this six track record is a fundamental part of the sound. Warlock and his wife were victims of a burglary, and the pent up anger leading to him moving town gives these relatively short seventeen minutes a lot of passion and personal honesty. Producer Nasa worked with Warlock here and decided to use samples solely from outfit The Mars Volta and their discography. They've managed to steer that distinct sound around however, making it the perfect backdrop to this dramatic debut effort. Does it work though? The backstory is nice, but you can't support music on it. If you do, it's inevitably going to fall off. I think it teeters on this particular release. There are a couple of nice tracks, but the majority don't impress or get your adrenaline pumping as much as they're obviously supposed to. I'm not laughing at Warlock's distress, but I reckon it affected his music slightly more than I would have liked. In the end, this effort is free, so head over here and give it a listen for yourselves.
     I get that the beat is supposed to be crazy, in keeping with the inspiration for 'Dark Weapons (from Mars)', but I would have preferred one much more coherent in its delivery. The opening track 'Chain Lockin'' falls into this hole from the offset, with strange breakdowns and samples thrown in regularly not helping the situation at all. Lyrically, not much of a structure is kept to, but the words are pretty well written and engage to an extent. From the quieter moments to Warlock shouting "now I sleep with one eye open/ because the chain lock is broken", this track hits you as soon as you hit play, but like I said, the beat is pretty much a mess, and I think this stain seeps through to the other songs. 'Slugging Percentage' is better, even with the stupid humming that intersects the beat every so often. Said beat is more distinguishable under the lyrics, and the aggressive "violence" sounds great. The softer moment half way through is a stand-out point in the song as well. 'Serpentine Steak Knives' features both Subtitle and Elucid but doesn't improve on the flaws of the other songs. The different vocals add that variety to the album, but highlight a problem I can attribute to this effort as a whole. Nothing here makes me want to listen again. That's it. All I'm doing here is trying to vocalise why this is, but in the end there's nothing especially great about Adam Warlock's 'Dark Weapons'.
     'Drop the Hammer', with its unappealing stutter handicapping the beat, sounds just as bad as 'The Missing Amethyst'. The latter track (in the nicest possible way) starts to annoy. I get that Warlock has gone through an ordeal that he's putting into music, but on the fifth song we kinda understand and are just waiting for some lyrical variety. The last track, along with the second, are the best here, in my eyes at least. 'R.I.P. Port Richmond' has a quirky high voice that kicks off this number, pops its head up every so often, and eventually closes the record. The problem arises when you realise you don't want to head back to the beginning and listen though the whole six tracks for the second time.
     Overall, I'm less than impressed by Adam Warlock's debut album. The beats have no discernible rhythm most of the time, and although the lyrics are well-written, they become somewhat tiresome, even after just seventeen minutes. The concept and story behind 'Dark Weapons (from Mars)' makes the songs very passionate and easy to understand, which saves the album from being a utter waste of time. I sympathise with Warlock for what he's been though, and perhaps he's better when not emotionally stressed, but I don't reckon I'll be awaiting his next release. This effort is free however, so if you think you might enjoy it, check out a track below and head over to the link at the start of the review.

'Slugging Percentage'