Saturday, 28 November 2020

Cult Of Damned "Cult Of The Damned" (2015)

Have I found my new obsession? I think so! Cult Of Damned are a UK rap collective set to hypnotize with slick liquid flows flaunting twisted flamboyant flavors of gritty street rhymes. Not to be confused with Grime, these are some northern and southern Brits uniting to bring the distinct voices of the British isles without resembling Grime annunciations. One similarity came immediately to mind, Odd Future's Oldie classic. Devoid of hooks, a chorus or recurring structures, every track follows the premise of MC's taking turns to drop fragrant verses over a droning loop that barely changes from start to end of these lengthier tracks for Hip Hop music. Its made me appreciate how much I love this approach first pioneered by The Wu-Tang Clan.

The power of a beat that can last the duration is impressive but given direct focus these instrumentals aren't exactly bangers. Stripped to necessity with minimal complexity and brief variations, there low key nature simply sets a tone for the fun rhyme schemes to keep you engaged. That's where the charm is at. With quite a few voices I'm still getting accustomed with, they all share something in common, a steady pace and audible presence that lets you catch all the twists and slurs of wordings. Among those voices are a couple weak links but also some significant talent cropping up in regular intervals to keep the flow moving between less impressive rhymes.

The overall style is wordplay. Zany, wild and absurd, anything goes from acrobatic linguistics, to street wise puns and boasting. With moments of sleaze, violence and drug abuse the topicality is all over the place as narratives have loose association and freedom to jump where the rhymes lead. Its a fun ride with plenty of favorite loose lines and funky verses to pluck from these twenty two debut minutes. "Claustrophobic in open space" a fun reversal that catches my ear each time. Its a loaded listen given the record is straight back to back rhymes with barely a moment of pause.

The characters that occupy this space through the verses feel mildly wild and unhinged, a playful dance with madness that makes for many a self deploring moments. Invested in this sound, its easy to gloss over flaws. Although these rhymes are clearly worked over and crafted the quality bar is varied with some MCs continually outshining others. Some refinement would elevate this record. The beats too, although very much to my liking with slow paced, dark 90s vibes, they too drone to effect but I wonder how much I'll tolerate that repetition with time. Its clearly done by design but I do think the spark could fade. Or perhaps I am just going to binge this to death? Right now I'm loving it and ready to move on to the collectives debut album.

Rating: 6/10