Review Summary: AETHERNET’s aggressive, coked up uncle
Sematary is such an odd name in modern music. Before I start this review, I have to clarify that I definitely would not consider myself to be a fan of the genre “black metal”at all. I don’t find most albums from the genre enjoyable, but despite that Sematary, a trap/drill artist who borrows many influences from the category, has snuck his black-metal sampling ass into my top 10 rappers list. It confuses me even, perhaps it’s Sematary’s more-digestible influences that he takes, whether they be from Chicago-Drill artists such as Chief Keef and G Herbo (hm, maybe even a bit of Polo G’s early work?), or from his genre blending skills that at the end of the day still tie back to good ol’ enjoyable trap music. Also, I’ll say this right now, as straightforwardly as I can to avoid confusion: Sematary does not sound like his more trap-oriented influences (Whether it be from the distortion on his voice or his odd sample choices that Piano G would not touch with a ten foot stick). Anyways, ol’ Grave Man has created such an odd, unclassified genre mix and already made a masterpiece in it. Spoilers, it’s this album. Rainbow Bridge 3 is Sematary’s best release by far and has cleared Porter Robinson’s Nurture as my favorite album of the year.
Rainbow Bridge 3 is the third part of this series of “rainbow bridge”. The first two mixtapes truly set the tone for what you will receive from a Sematary listening session. Sematary’s monotone, lifeless flow, drum hits from drill music, choppy and distorted vocals soaked in autotune, and of course, the previously mentioned black metal/doom metal samples. All of those strange yet addicting components find their way into Rainbow Bridge 3’s interiors, but with an extra layer of gold sprinkled over it. Many of the songs are 100%, pure uncut ro- noise? Is this just a Bladee album with Merzbow production? Rainbow Bridge 3 is busy to say the very least. Sematary’s music certainly isn't for everyone but I can’t help but simply love it. With each listen, I for one was able to get even more out of it every time I pressed “Play.
Rainbow Bridge 3 is...odd. First listen, I’ll admit that at my first listen I genuinely thought that some of these deep cut tracks were just blatant re-hashes of Sematary’s earlier works, but with each listen of RB3, you (well, at least I) get more out of it each time. Remembering the tiny details of Sematary’s work really helps boost the near poetic experiences I’ve had with this work. Sometimes, I ask myself, “Have I heard this drum hit?”; “Is this a Lil Durk flow?”; “Is this a ____ sample?” To no surprise, these questions really skyrocket my enjoyment and truly get me focused on something. Who knows? What if it sparks a hyper fixation in my neurodivergent mind?
Now, onto the actual sound of this album. Although being hard to grip, one thing that’s easy to latch and get attached to is Sematary’s main rap flow. Is it repetitive? Sure, but he can truly pull off some killer verses and mind numbing (but still rlly good) choruses. The songs are brisk, occasionally sounding like they’ve been thrown into a pot of boiling cooking oil at times. Vocals are definitely as distorted as the layered samples and drill drums. With the occasional “HAAAAAAUGHHH” adlib, you’re set for a unique yet bumpy experience. I’m here for it, strapped up in the back of the twisted murder party while Sematary poses for his next album cover at a random bridge.
Sematary’s music deeply relies on his main tropes. Got them written down? Well, first you have his orgasmic moan of an adlib— which is the signature “HAAAAAUGH”, along with his strange obsession with box cutters and huffing dust. Oh, not to mention his hi-hat pattern. Although it’s been used so goddamn often, I never get tired of it and probably won’t until “Rainbow Bridge 73”. His sample use really helps bring this over the moon, they’re simply incredible. Also, DJ Sorrow’s intros are both the best and worst things I’ve ever heard. The whole 2010’s “MLG” aesthetic is honestly so bold and brave for a 2021 tape.
These songs aren’t just all gimmicky metal-rap however, there are some genuinely simple and dare I say calm moments on this mixtape, the intro to Chainsaw Party has a beautiful synth lead. From there, it swiftly transitions into a noisy metal rap song; it’s a jungle gym. Witching Hour, Come With Me To Hell, Necromanser and Skincarver all bump incredibly hard and are made for drives (alone) through a haunted forest. Meet by the River and the intro God's Light Burns Upon My Flesh really help diversify his sound and spread the artistic message even further. Both of these songs are honestly landmarks of modern trap that won’t get old anytime soon. The Ghost Mountain features are quite limited yet bring some extra energy to their respective songs.
Overall, this mixtape is mind blowing as shooting a gun at your brain and getting some wicked head at the same time. Although I can confidently say that this style of music may not be for everyone, it certainly is for my melded brain. This is Sematary’s magnum opus and breakout moment that I’m sure many “Mounders” will relish in. It’s consistently well made and solid all around, even the (very violently) lyrics. Having these detailed lyrics is very unusual for the trap genre, but I’m still not complaining one bit. Not to mention, Sematary has some pretty sick visuals, whether it be his weirdly edited album covers or super abstract music videos. Everything about the artist is a mystery, coming down to his hidden identity and the very limited knowledge we have about the man behind the best album of 2021.
Also, the correct ranking of this series is 3 > 2 > 1. He just keeps improving, it’s barely fair.