Following the Decepticon-funk of the Paul Nice-produced “Luxor Temple”, which showcases more Ap-insanity, a dope dose of Planetary and a blast of Blacastan (who has more of a presence on this album than any previous AOTP release), the album rolls on with “Azrael” — something Eminem would produce if on a spiritual retreat — and “The Demon Blade” that, yup, reflects the late-90s Wu-loops of Mathematics or True Master (there’s even a Killah Priest mention on here). While both tracks are cool, they’re far from stand-outs. Maybe it’s only because we’ve heard this sound before.
Not that AOTP should break away from what makes them AOTP, obviously; but there’s no doubt through dozens and dozens of In Death Reborn listens that this album is for the diehards. And, yes, I listened to it that much because it’s damn good. Consider me a diehard, cause there’s no sense in seeing these dudes rhyme about party and bullshit now. Still.
The haunting murmurs of “See You in Hell” is a track ultimately fitting for the oft-demonic presence of Celph Titled, while “Headless Ritual” should have been the entrance theme of #HailHydra during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Or does the Demigod himself have other ideas? “Ap hold it down like Magneto on a metal floor!” No arguing that. Better yet, “persuasive ass, metal-toting Mexican cat” Zilla adds a pair of choppy, sporadic flows on the aforementioned and guitar-licking head-knocker, “Visual Camouflage”, which not only matches the pristine cover art to a tee, but hears Paz compare himself to Bray Wyatt. Yes, #GHGLovesAOTP.
To begin the end of the journey-at-hand, “Ninkyo Dantai” buzzes and salutes espionage like 007 on an Eastern exploration. Kudos to AOTP to moving on from a Gladiator-style that, while insanely addictive, would have been too familiar. There seems to be a heavier emphasis on this album to mix in science fiction, espionage and even the sounds of the most odd Japanime samurai showcase. In Death Reborn also features several tracks with several emcees, never afraid to showcase various styles and constant hype. While a lot of the production, samples, and loops can often become repetitive (check the frantic, NES-inspired ringing of “Digital War” for some ev), AOTP has always been first and foremost about getting the crowd amped. You know, all moshed, hyped on Red Bull, and full of endless joy with the knowledge that there is still a gang of dudes out there who don’t find rap to be work, but rather an infinite crisis.
The saga continues…
(Flip the page for another review!)