various artists :: Murdercore Rap: Evil Is... Vol. One :: Long Range Distribution
as reviewed by Jordan Selbo

With both political and cultural scare tactics at an all time desperate level, it seems evil has never been so...boring. After all, does anyone actually believe G. Dubya when he spews his nonsense for the thousandth time about the evil bad men trying to destroy us? And are there any suburban moms left out there who are even mildly concerned about their kids being exposed to Marilyn Manson? Apparently we've seen it all, too jaded to be shocked. So despite the many avenues for shock and horror media that still exist, the desensitization trend leaves little cultural space for the acts collected on "Murdercore," as their sole mission seems to be not so much to entertain or express, but simply to scare, shock and swim around in the gore. For horror to be successful, if we can't be shocked, we should be made to reflect on our current society through images of terror both over-the-top and not so far-fetched. Too bad both the lyrics and (especially) the beats collected here are more sleep-inducing than quiet storm.

You can complain all you want about the uninspired content of "Murdercore," which revolves essentially around anything gloomy and wicked; however, the real problem is execution. While MF Doom can make a whole album dedicated to raps about food captivating, the MCs here fail to include anything cinematic or vivid in detail, let alone any verbal gymnastics (save for Cyco of Insane Poetry, who can actually flow sick, no pun intended). Technically speaking, many of the mastering jobs seem poor, with vocals buried under fuzzy basslines and a general lack of kick and crispness. The only respite from the formula of dull, mid-tempo, simplistic piano looped drudgery is the biting funk of Lavel's "It's Nothin" and the dynamic piano on Jack Hearst's "Trikt."

If you're gonna be stupid, be goofy about it. I doubt any of these artists ever smile, unless they just killed a baby bunny or something. For instance, if Q Strange had his tongue-in-cheek for the chorus of "Ain't no bitch like a dead bitch/ cuz dead bitches don't talk/ dead bitches ain't shady..." it might (that's a big ass might) have been funny in a preposterous way. As it stands, the song (about the advantages of a dead girlfriend over a living one, "Weekend at Bernies" style) is just depressing. I seriously feel bad for this artist and anyone who relates to him—obviously they've never known a real women's love.

Other egregious missteps include the stupidest title of recent memory (Halfbreed's "Angel's Night Anthem"), and the would-be-funny in an alternative universe but actually grossly insensitive "Zombie High School" by The Killaz, where a Columbine-esque school killing spree is described with little creativity or skill. This stuff doesn't shock or even offend me, so much as it makes me pity and sympathize with anyone who thinks it's worth listening to. I'm not in the least knocking horror or gore (being a zombie-ophile myself), but please kids, if you're gonna go to the darkside, do it with Romero or Brother Lynch Hung or Necro. Leave "Murdercore" on the shelf to collect dust, like some hideous cultural artifact that horrifies for all the wrong reasons.

Music Vibes: 3 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3 of 10

Originally posted: July 24, 2007