Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage

If you like the idea of Prophets of Rage – Chuck D and B-Real fronting Rage Against The Machine – then chances are you’ll enjoy their eponymous debut, but if the thought of it grinds your goat, maybe not. MonkHammer falls into the former camp, but while the album has a lot to get excited about, it is also flawed. Starting with the positives, it’s fair to say Chuck D is the only man alive that could realistically don Zach de la Rocha’s crown without coming across like a ham-fisted spam-gargling pleb, his deep, punchy flow so suited to Tom Morello’s skittering riffs you’ll wonder why they didn’t hook up years ago. Couple this with one of the tightest and most destructive rhythm sections ever to lock horns and the end result can be thunderously good, with tracks like ‘Unfuck The World’ and ‘Smashit’ hitting harder than a concrete rhino. Political but not preachy, heavy in soul but light in mood, the album seems primarily designed to keep the party going rather than shut it down, with a Skindred feel to some of the bouncier grooves, however it can’t all be sunshine and lollipops, and for every high there is a corresponding low. While Chuck D is a ball of tightly knotted fury and righteous anger, B-Real sounds less enraged than a sleepy kitten with a slightly smaller ball of twine than he was promised. When not reduced to hype man (‘Radical Eyes’), it’s telling that his best verse is an LL Cool J parody/tribute/rip-off (we give options because it’s impossible to fathom why it made the cut), while ‘Legalize Me’ distills all the laziest Cypress Hill tropes into a dead horse-flogging 70s nursery rhyme about getting high. There are other niggles too. Lyrically the album is a bit short-sighted, with many topics destined to date quicker than nu-metal, while musically it’s all a bit samey with too much reliance on a rallying chorus, meaning that while the Prophets scratch an itch, and are a welcome addition to 2017, that’s also probably where they will remain. Fun while it lasts.

Prophets of Rage

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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