Review Summary: a merge of two contrasting environments pays off.
Cold World's previous effort 'Ice Grillz' was a novel, simplistic portrayal of rudimentary hardcore fused with a hip-hop presence. It included everything from Wu-Tang Clan samples to the drummer stepping up to DJ the group’s productions. The record was a solid if not gimmicky work and somewhere along the line the hype behind the group caught up to Deathwish. In turn we are presented with the well anticipated record 'Dedicated to Babies Who Came Feet First' which compared to the debut features a much more prominent metal influence as is usually for the bands on Deathwish. Going a little off subject, Paint it Black's 'New Lexicon' released earlier this year kind of gave me hope for the new Cold World. Dalek producer Oktopus was heavily involved in the production of that record and it feels so appropriately. Cold World as well is certainly not negatively affected by this idea of rap and hardcore fusing as one. 'Dedicated' presents an atmosphere that is simply nonexistent in any other hardcore group. Subtle lyrical references to rap classics, random incorporations of electronic drums, the excellent and raw sounding samples. Cold World is easily feeding their supposed image, but beyond that they also possess the ability to write some damn good songs.
In examining the sound presented on this record we only need to look at the title track. Starting off with a punk based riff that would sound more at place on their debut the track lyrically presents us with an image of the rural area of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Like most of Pennsylvania Wilkes Barre is a mix of city life with the enormous amount of rural areas that the state is known for. The issues that lead singer Dan Mills touches on seem to be a meeting point between these two environments. Musically the song brilliantly uses samples in its chorus with the calls of 'my life, my life, my life, my life'. Transitioning straight from the chorus into a bridge featuring Blacklisted vocalist George Hirsch provides a great counterpoint to Dan Mills somewhat redundant vocals. The song breaks into an excellent breakdown as it finishes off in an epic manner. While I love how sparingly the samples are used on this record it does seem like the best songs on the record succeed by implementing some form of hip-hop into otherwise by the book hardcore. 'Liars, Thieves' is another clear highlight with its drum machine transitions making the group come off as a legitimately interesting rap / hardcore hybrid and not the least bit nu-metally.
Negatives can be easily found on this record though. Singer Mills is an easy mark for the sometimes lacking heaviness of the group. The two backing vocalists do a good job of providing a heavier edge, but the lead of Cold World is certainly not the band's strong point. Other complaints can be filed towards the fact that Cold World isn't really presenting anything new besides the incorporation of some hip-hop gimmicks. The music here is basically derivative of mid-90s hardcore groups like Biohazard and Life of Agony and while those aren't bands that have seen a revival lately it is still not going to provide the group with as much respect as say a group like Paint it Black or Modern Life is War. The mid-tempo approach leaves some songs coming off as simply imitations of the actual classics on the album. Still, I don't think Cold World is going for something entirely new with this record and rather splicing together a supposed image of NYHC with the more urban side of that city's music and in that regard it works flawlessly.
All issues aside Cold World should be applauded with the rest of the Deathwish roster for releasing what has seemingly become a trend of consistent, interesting hardcore records. 'Dedicated to the Babies Who Came Feet First' isn't going to change anyone's mind about hardcore, but for those fans who have long worn out their copy of 'Urban Discipline' will find themselves right at home with tracks like 'Roaches and Rats'. Cold World's worldly perception obviously elicits their namesake and their entire sound is devoted to presenting that idea as a reality. If one thing can be said about 'Dedicated to Babies Who Came Feet First' it is that they have certainly done that.