Rap Metal. Rap Metal, to many, is a very cheesy genre. Not fun cheesy like power metal. But lame cheesy like, oh say, Limp Bizkit. Now I'll be the first to admit that I have the occasional soft spot for 3 Dollar Bill, Ya'll
and that Limp Bizkit's early material can be a bit of guilty pleasure for me.
I'm a person with a very wide range of musical tastes and will give anything a shot at least twice. However the people that I spend most of my time with are not such, and tend to be closed minded and limited to just Hip Hop and the like. Through these people I have found that one of the problems with Rap Metal is that many times it's written off before it's given a chance. And I have a sneaking suspicion that this is because people have heard and seen Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Papa Roach get big and figure that that is the best that this genre has to offer. Those bands are used as a measuring stick for Rap Metal. This wouldn't be so bad, if people didn't view them as the top of the stick. Well, I'm here to ask you to put all your assumptions and stereotypes aside because if Limp Bizkit is the top of the measuring stick for Rap Metal...
Reveille picks up that stick, breaks it over its knee, throws it in the wood chipper, grinds it down to a pulp, and makes paper with it to write their music. Maybe I should start lobbying for a Rapcore genre on this site? Kidding.
The big thing that seperates Reveille from everything else Rap Metal is the lyrics. As in, the lyrics are actually thought out. We all know the Fred Durst and Jacoby Shaddix are not premier lyricist. Mike Shinoda is a good rapper in his own right, but he can't seem to break away in Linkin Park. Drew Simollardes (Lyrics, Vocals) has a pinpoint delivery that is catchy, yet aggressive. He can spit it fast or slow, but it sounds good either way. A rapper with good flow can make up for lack of lyrical skill, because it allows the person to just be able to groove. You can groove to Drew Simollardes.
And you can groove while listening to some ill ***. Ever listen to Atmosphere? The best comparison I can make for Drew's lyrical stylings is to take Slug during his God Loves Ugly days and make it a little darker and a lot more aggressive. Drew's lyrics are not straight up angst, but their well thought out and cleverly masked. It's not drivel, but you're gonna have to do some thinking to get it. And this isn't just stuff about living in a broken home and a bad relationship. He deals with Hope (Comin' Back), Mistakes (Killing Me, Look At Me Know), Regret and Dreams (Down To None), Faith (Unborn, Catarax). There's a lot to Drew's lyrics, and the beauty of it is that he's only 20 (I believe). Drew probably shines the most on the only straight up Hip Hop track on the cd, Down to None
Now I said earlier that Reveille lacks in the musical department. But that all depends on what you're looking for. We all know that standard Rap and Hip-Hop do not have a lot going on in the background. The idea is to get a catchy hook and give the listener a beat that allows them to follow the song and the rapper to deliver his words. This is exactly what Reveille does. Greg Sullivan and Steve Miloszewski (Guitarists) do not write complicated guitar lines that play off each other. They riff, and riff, and riff. They provide the backdrop of the song, and they do it well. Like rock music, you can mosh and head bang to this music. Or, like hip-hop, you can chill and bob your head to it and just groove. There's one notable "solo" on Plastic. It's not much, but it provides a nice break from their standard song structure. Simply put, this is standard fair for Nu-Metal, but works better because of the purpose of the music.
The bass (Carl Randolph) is noticeable, which is nice, but doesn't do much. Basically playing the guitar lines, with the occasional fill. The drums (Justin Wilson) aren't simple, but they aren't crazy. Lots of open hi-hat work and snare fills. Basically think just think about the drum loops that are in the background of a lot of rap songs. Add some more edge and bite to them. Throw in some fills and more complex cymbal work, and you have Justin Wilson. He's the beat keeper, and thats very important in Hip Hop. And therefor, it's very important in Rap Metal.
Now I've made it clear that Drew can rap. But did I mention that this is Rap Metal
, and is going to contain its fairshare of screaming? The screaming on this cd is notabley better than their debut. Did Drew improve his scream or is it just produced better? I know not, but it does sound better. Indeed, it sounds damn good. In Plastic (which is a sweet song about prostitution, plastic surgery, and how the world puts to much emphasis on being beautiful and clocks in at a solid 6:02) the end is brought about with all screaming, and it really brings a good closing to the song. Same goes for Modified Lie, Killing Me, and about half the songs on this cd. There is also clean singing, while not incredible, is competant in its own right. Steven Richards (Taproot) makes an appearance on Plastic. One would expect that he would rap on it, as this cd came out around the time of Gift and it is a Rap Metal cd. But he opts to sing and it sounds very good and provides a very nice clean interlude for the song.
Depending on what version of this cd you hear, there may be a bonus track. This is simply the song Inside Out
feature Scooter Ward (Cold) singing some slightly changed lyrics and a small switch up of the chorus. This is a horrible attempt at a bonus track, and was actually released as a single. The original version of this song has a lot more energy, and is more fun to listen to despite being the weakest song on the disc.
I honestly feel that this cd will appeal to anyone that has an open mind. As the rules state, a cd that is a classic within it's genre can only be given a 4/5 at the highest. Well this is a classic within it's genre. So it gets a 4/5. If you like hip-hop, pick up this cd. If you like nu-metal, at least download some tracks to see what you think. Because I'm yet to see a person on this site that exclusively listens to Hip Hop, and therefor probably won't mind some screaming, I'm gonna go ahead and reccommend this to anyone that likes Hip Hop. But people that like Nu-Metal should not ignore this. Anyone that can appreciate good songwriting (especially in the lyric department) should at least give this a shot. All in all, this is a Rap Metal cd that isn't so much a guilty pleasure but actually a cd that I'm damn glad I bought.
-Great Lyrics covering a multitude of ideas
-Great Delivery (Screamed, sang, and rapped)
-Music is enough to get you moving
-Down To None
If you don't like rapping, you probably won't like this
If you don't like Rap Metal, you probably won't like this
Down to None
Bleed the Sky
Reveille - Bleed the Sky
In General - 4 out of 5
Within It's Genre - 5 out of 5