Sunday, April 1, 2012

Aw, c'mon it ain't THAT bad...

Yep, enough years have passed where I can finally admit to how much I used to love nü metal. Korn's Life Is Peachy hooked my white ass like a fat tuna for years. While that album still holds its ground today, my CD collection is replete with fly-by-night wonders of that strange late-90's era where simply downtuning a 7-string guitar and alternating whimpers with screams made you a marketable band. 40 Below Summer, Taproot, Project 86, the list goes on and on. Still, there were the defining albums of the genre: the aforementioned Korn Life Is Peachy (and of course, their debut as well), Deftones' Adrenaline and Slipknot Slipknot easily come to mind, and for a while it seemed like everything great was touched in some way by producer extraordinaire Ross Robinson. So when it broke that Ross was producing Vanilla Ice's supererogatory comeback album it seemed like the caravan had begun its topple over the cliff. While I kept up with the "work-in-progress" snippets on MTV News, it took me a while to hear the results when the album was finally released in 1988. To be honest, my insecure ass didn't want to wander into Tower Records and have anyone see me thumb through the Vanilla Ice section! Turns out I never had to shame myself as a good friend of mine stopped by soon after, fresh off a trip to L.A. to see his half-brother Sonny. Yep, Sonny Mayo, guitarist for defunct nü metal outfit Snot and... yep... lead guitarist on Ice's new Hard To Swallow album! So there ya go, talk about shit falling into your lap. After a quick interrogation for any info about the recording session (answers being the expected "Ice was incredibly cool with everyone until someone with a camera showed up and all of a sudden he put on this annoying image which took over everything..." blah blah) my friend broke out the promo CD he brought me. So, what's the verdict??? Well, it's incredibly derivative of much of the other nü metal already floating out there and there's a weird tremelo effect on the guitar that gets somewhat tiresome after awhile but... it's actually pretty good. "Too Cold, " his heavy version of "Ice Ice Baby" is easily the most accessible (and will blow up a party if you ever break it out - trust me). On "Prozac," Ice builds a solid song around his rhymes dropped on "Boom" from the Bloodhound Gang's One Fierce Beer Coaster years earlier (BHG's Jimmy Pop Ali returns the guest vocal favor on this one). The standout track is the closer "Freestyle" featuring Insane Poetry rappers Cyco and Sub Zero. Fucking awesome hip hop with a cool heavy back beat - we joked whether or not those rappers actually admitted to their boys back home that they sang on this record! Of course some of the stuff falls a little flat, the weed references are sadly old hat and some of the "pain" Ice emotes seems really forced. Oh well, I still dig it. Too bad Ice hadn't made the album a few years earlier - he would have seemed like a real trendsetter instead of another has-been on the bandwagon. If you like what you hear you could do much worse then checking out his follow-up Skabz EP from 2001 (released as part of the forgettable double-album Bi-Polar) - featuring members of Slipknot and 'Genocide faves M.O.D.!!!!

Currently watching: La Horde
Currently listening to: Ministry The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste

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