October 26, 2010

Music Review: Twiztid - Heatbroken & Homicidal

I first got into Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic with The Great Milenko. That's right, I haven't been there since the start but I have since gone back and gotten their older stuff and I will admit to being a big fan. Perhaps not quite to the level of being a Juggalo, but so be it I know what I like and I like this. However, for my money Twiztid are the most talented rappers on the label. I have been with them since the release of Mostasteless way back when. I have liked all of their albums but their latest, Heartbroken & Homicidal, takes it to an entirely new level. I have had a hard time getting away from it ever since I got it. In a word it is phenomenal. I don't care what you say.

What I have found pretty amazing over the course of Twiztid's career is how often I get their latest release, listen to it, and not like it. That's right. I generally do not care for their albums when I first get them. I cannot quite explain but they just don't work for me. Then a month or two down the road it is like a switch is flipped and I "get" it. My attitude shifts and I begin to really like what they have created. Sure, there are still the dud songs here and there, but that has to be expected. Well, Heartbroken & Homicidal has proven to be something quite different. In short it has broken the trend of being slow to like.

No sooner did "Spiderwebs" get going to start the album I was hooked. There is something about this album that is dark and reflective, catchy, and just flat out great. Jamie Madrox and Monoxide have really stepped up their game to take their music to another level. Both guys sound great, they are attacking their lyrics with ferocity and passion that exceeds anything they have done in the past. Yes, I love the vast majority of their releases, but this, what can I say but wow!

I will agree with some that this album does have a stronger emotional quotient than other albums but it sounds right. I daresay this may be their most personal album yet. There is a lot anger and darkness unloaded over the course of the record's 45-minutes. At the same time there is emotional catharsis achieved by the time "All the Rest" closes everything out.

It seems fairly clear that the two went through some sort of turmoil before writing these songs. The way the album progresses, the way the words are written, the way the beats are layered, the way they deliver the lyrics, it all feels genuine. I am sorry for whatever pain they went through, but at the same time it led to an incredible creative expression.

The "Spiderwebs" opener is an angry song that chronicles the sides of a relationship that is clearly on the rocks with no middle ground to speak of. This leads into "What I'm Feelin'" that sees the heartbroken getting upset and using drugs to try and balance it out with not so good results.

Before I get too far, I am not going to go through each track, let's just say that it takes you on a journey. The journey loosely chronicles the path from messy break up to new relationship that begins with the hope of a better tomorrow but with the shadowy possibility of a rerun of past disasters.

There are a number of notable songs, besides the anger of "Spiderwebs" and the cautious hope of "All the Rest." This includes "What I'm Feelin'" is extremely catchy and easy to groove to.

"PSA" has a fantastic world music style beat paired with lyrics from the perspective of a suicide victim whose cries for help were ignored. This is easy to sing along with and get into the beat, but it is also pretty powerful lyrically. It is not a new topic for Twiztid, but this take is much more pointed approach. It is clearly meant as a warning and not intended for a literal translation.

"Heard Enough" sees them face down their critics and artists who have ripped them off. Fed up with the fakes and detractors, they take it right at them. A big F You to the haters.

Monoxide steps up with "Cyanide." This song, and album, has to be some of Monoxide's stuff yet. I have always felt he was the weaker of the two, but he really steps up (kind of similar to my feelings on Shaggy when he released F.T.F.O.).

This record does step into the rock arena at times, most notably with "Set by Example." I did not really care for this song at first and it still stands as one of my least liked. However, I have come to like it a bit the more I have listened to it. Still, these guys are not that strong on the rock side.

"Keys to My Mind" begins winding things down with a really laid back track that has a nice balance and just very enjoyable to listen to.

The record closes with the previously mentioned "All the Rest." This is the most "emo" track of the album, but at the same time it holds up as a Twiztid great. It shows Madrox in a very vulnerable place. It is a very different perspective, very personal, raw and exposed to the world. Could it be leading to something special or are we destined for another round of spiderwebs?

Will this live on to be a genre classic? Probably not. Even though the group's an label's recognition has been on the rise, they are still not what you would call a mainstream act. I think they prefer it this way. The way they are positioned just below the streets affords them a larger audience than completely underground acts while also being far enough off the mainstream as to not have to compromise their integrity to "fit in." Back to the idea of a classic, it will be to me and will likely become one for many fans.

Bottomline. Wow. Really. I love this record. It has dug itself into my brain and has taken up permanent residence. Twiztid have continually reinvented themselves from their debut through the Freek Show anthem era right through last years concept release W.I.C.K.E.D. They are not ones to rest on their laurels, they are constantly refining their craft and continually prove their skills. I can't wait to see where their next evolution takes them.

Highly Recommended.

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