Review Summary: Though off-putting at first, the amazing beats and bizarre free-associate rhymes of Holocaust make this a really interesting listen. Definitely a grower.
Before to listening to this CD I had never heard anything by Holocaust/Warcloud/Robotank, but did vaguely remember that he was a guest on a RZA song from one of his Bobby Digital EPs. I actually can't even remember how I a came across Holocausts Myspace, but I do remember that it was late, I was very high, and that upon listening to the three sample tracks on his page I was very confused and surprised. Yes, the fact that I was intoxicated did better the experience, but whether you're sober or not, the combination of strange, ethereal beats combined with consistantly bizarre lyrics like "The shipwreck patriot, I have no patience, the California statement" is sure to take leave an impression on anybody. The next day I immeditaly got a hold of the CD and after about 5 listens by this point, the CD still holds my attention.
The one obvious standout right off the bat is the beats. These are, in my opinion, some of the best beats I have heard in years. "No Image" combines extremely somber female vocals with haunting pianos to create what is possibly the best track on the album, while "Smoking Room" ,again using piano, creates a more mellow, dreamy feel. "Sinister", another contender for the best beat on the album, could almost be called epic but again, carries the very subdued vibe that encompasses the entire album. The beats do sound similar at times, as they all hit within the same eerie/somber range, but not nearly enough to call them repetitive as they are still all amazing in their own right.
On the other side of the spectrum, the one downside, at least initially, is Holocaust himself. Possessing a very disjointed flow and some of the strangest free-associative lyrics I've ever heard ("The sun rewinds, a drunken kitten chasing a butterfly"), the first thought that ran through my head when I first heard him was "if only someone else could spit over these beats". With further listening though, he really grew me and I now find his off-kilter delivery and strange lyrics perfect for the unique beats.
"By the crackly hillside, through the mosses bare
I have planted thorn trees for pleasure, here and there
Is any man so daring as to dig them up in spite
He shall find the sharpest thorns, in his bed at night"
Its near impossible to pinpoint a "theme" in Holocaust's lyrics, as nearly every song has him spouting warp speed lyrics ranging that cover topics such as vampires, jellyfish, and Indian folklore. But it is for the most part very effective, and somtimes even funny in just how bizarre they are.
"It is one thing to flag down a truck off the coast of Mexico
But it is another when you found out that out here
We're all vampires, and we'll never let you go
And slang hands are grabbers, a man died in a slammer
Rough lyrics I kick, come back to me, like Thor's hammer
I was an ingenius scientist, by the birth name of Robert Bruce Banner"
Ultimately, I think that anybody who is a fan of Wu related artists, or even remotely curious about this album should visit his myspace (http://www.myspace.com/warcloudforumspace) and check him out (be aware that "Killer Moth" is in my opinion the worst track on the album). The beats are great, and if you can handle his strange, somtimes inane lyrics, then I think you'll at least get some enjoyment out of this one.
Download: No Image, Sinister, God be With You, Smoking Room