Jedi Mind Tricks come storming back with the follow up to their inconsistent 'Army of Pharoahs' mixtape with their latest release 'Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell'. Stoupe is once again consumed with his penchant for Latin rhythms and provides his usual razor sharp production, delivering a well rounded and layered musical surface for Vinnie & Co to destroy.
Skittering mellow melodies are plyed with industrially heavy beats, (just check out the track entitled 'serenity in murder') creating a sense of urgency yet melancholy reflection. Vinnie Paz is on fire (again) but this time he (slightly) tones down the violence, removes homophobic slurs and shows a knack for impeccable story-telling. There really aren't many rappers out there who name-check Cannibal Corpse, Dillinger Escape Plan and Bill Hicks. Paz delves deep into his inner pscyhe to reveal issues close to his heart like the relationship with his family and this allows the listener to connect with his personality, thus making his lines and aggression all the more relevant. He also puts across an extremely pessimistic viewpoint spitting lines like "my future a box or an urn" and "each day is another day closer to death". The album also touches upon a number of issues including the vietnam war, slave labour and government corruption. The former features an 'on fire' R.A The Rugged Man who delivers immense wordplay and timing. Other guests include ILL Bill, Sean Price and Chief Kamachi. The track 'when all light dies' features a nice trip-hop style vocal chorus contribution from Diamond Girl while the soulful sample in the closing track 'black winter day', combines nicely with the violent content. This is an altogether refereshing change to the (very effective but) standard, sampled and vinyl scratched choruses.
All in all, this album is a highly consistent long player featuring enough quality to move JMT back to the heights they achieved with their unanimously praised classic, 'Violent By Design'. If you're a fan of heartfelt, unflinching yet melodic horrorcore, then cop this right now. If you aren't then you may be suprised by a slightly more lyrically and stylistically varied album
Synopsis: Good mix of old-style JMT battle raps and some new directions. A few gems, but some mediocre tracks. Overall, not JMT's strongest effort, but a good addition to a dedicated fan's collection.
Pros: - The rhymes and flow from Vinnie are pretty much as sharp as ever. The multies come as thick and fast as we're used to. - Although I haven't heard all the previous albums, I know some of JMT's earlier albums, like Violent by Design, which mostly consist of battle raps. Although this is cool, if you like that sort of thing, and the production and rhyming/flow have always been top notch, it meant JMT lacked variation in their topics. This newest album explores some new directions, with more serious and deep topics coming in. E.g. - Uncommon Valor: a Vietnam Story covers a foot soldier's viewpoint of the vietnam war, Shadow Business looks at the sweatshop situation in American Samoa (though it could be the same in any sweatshop), Razorblade Salvation puts Vinnie in the place of a guy once considering suicide, now discovering new meaning to life, and Black Winter Day gives an insight into Vinnie's inner pains and struggles. This new depth to the lyrics improves the whole JMT experience. - While the subject matter might not be highly original in every track (hey it's hard to be these days), the way Vinnie puts it across is as fresh as you're gonna get. No one else does the style Vinnie uses. Points for freshness there. - The beats have some slightly strange melodies, but in general they're still as dope as ever from Stoupe. - There are a couple of real gems on here: the tracks When All Light Dies, Shadow Business, Uncommon Valor and Black Winter Day are my favourites with dope lyrics and beats.
Cons: - This album uses synthesized childlike/female voices in many of the hooks instead of proper female vocals. These can be pretty annoying. I find they get less annoying with repeated listening, but they never actually get good. I gotta say that the good beats kind of make up for it though. - Of the album's 16 tracks, 5 are skits or mini-tracks. The album is pretty short anyway, at under 50 mins including the skits. - Although there are some really sick tracks as I said, a few of them are pretty mediocre. Let me stress, there are no really weak tracks... but not that many outstanding ones either.
so glad theres still so decent hip hop out there, this album is fire... I was a bit disapointed because I love heavy metal kings and compared to all other tracks on the album its a bit dull sounding as in there doesnt seem to be much midrange n treble, dont let that put you off though its a banging cd, took about a week to arrive but im in England and this is from Philly..so many good artist on this, the dj kills it, Boxcutter got it down to a T.. nice 1 Vin
Once again Jedi Mind have failed to disappoint. Its another brilliant album, great production from Stoupe and thoughtful agressive lyrics from Vinnie Paz. All fans of underground hip hop must buy this album. Best tracks incude Uncommon Valor, Razorblade Salvation and Put Em In The Grave.