Review Summary: Crocodile-DundamnThis review was originally published on http://youreviews.us/neurotic-november-fighting-words/
When you think of Miami, street disfiguring alligators, mid-tone rappers, and golden grills may be a staple, but to amalgamate such qualities with down-tuned riffs, harsh vocals and eerie electronic arrangements is relatively unheard of. Neurotic November are looking to develop their already established brand of rapcore on this latest endeavor “Fighting Words”, and for the most part, they succeed with some awkward mishaps and poor songwriting decisions along the way.
Setting the pace right from the get-go with “NNTRO”, haunting vocals supported by a well-placed choir line pull the song to a technically strong yet unfitting rap break before charging into the synth-laden breakdown in “The Truth About You.” This segment is basically the album in a nutshell; unique immersive keyboards, hard hitting breakdowns and a bouncing dynamic between screams and rapping. On their own, each of the composition’s elements are strong and produced fantastically; but where it falters is the blend. The electronics steal the show here; influences range from eastern-style string plucking alongside to the floor beats such as on “Everglades”, to glitched pseudo-trance loops over riffs such as on “2004 – Present.” There’s always variety to be found here, and the keyboardist is quite talented, or at the very least experimental.
Now to put the -core in this show by putting in the actual non-electronic instrumentals; for the most part they’re your standard fare: tight drumming juxtaposed with catchy breakdowns, chugs and some solid riff work to be expected from the genre. Nothing really stands out here, bar on the track “Rockstar” which features a rather entertaining distorted guitar solo. Now for the icing on the cake, we’ll talk about “Dee Dee’s” vocals. When making such an eclectic blend of vocal stylings, one would expect them to be fit well into the music and also be very technically skilled at both such styles; while the latter may be true, unfortunately, the former is not. Dee Dee’s screams are powerful, with shredding vicious highs that are contrasted well by deep gutturals. His rapping is also strong, boasting a solid flow with some humorous one-liners like “call the X-Games, cause I’m way too extreme.” The problem is that they don’t flow well together in particular, as the rapping sounds under-produced and too far up in the mix for it to really make his vocal tone fit as well with the instrumentals as it could have.
Overall, Neurotic November have put out a solid album filled with mindlessly fun electronic work and acceptable backing instruments to wrap it all up. Time will tell if this young band can take what they’ve experimented with and meld it even deeper into their sound.