Baron Von Alias + MistaBreeze :: The Great & The Magnificent :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

[The Great & The Magnificent] A few months back, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne's Baron Von Alias teamed up with Arhat to take listeners on a time-traveling journey with "GMT+1: Timezones & Loopholes." One of the songs on that album was titled "Devil's Rejects" (which also appears on this album) and featured an emcee by the name of MistaBreeze. I'm guessing that Baron Von and Mista picked up on the chemistry as they've combined forces for an entire album to become "The Great & The Magnificent." Continuing with the superhero theme, the album cover sports a comic book look to it. The release features production from Steesh, Arhat and Julesy "Kif" P. The biggest selling point here is that BVA and MistaBreeze are giving this away for the price of zero British pounds.

"The Great & The Magnificent" opens with "Organized Chaos", "Opening Night", "It's Okay" and "Lesser Of Two Evils." Each song is heavy on the drums, but they all manage to distinguish themselves from the others. If you count the video for "Devil's Rejects", there have been three videos released for this album. the others being "It's OK" and "Outside In." The latter dares the listener to take a step back and have a look at the world from a different perspective, as Von Alias raps:

"Didn't panic, just accept our doom
In a September moon, it was gone too soon
The trait's on display of a world lacking patience
With small altercations to break up the day
We face up to fate, and embrace our demise
I can see it in your eyes that you're too tired to try
There's a... fire inside, and it's the time of your life
And the time will arise
when the light will shine and blind both of your eyes"

After the aforementioned "Devil's Rejects", there is a skit featuring a demented version of Pinocchio that breaks free and turns on Geppetto. It's a nice piece of comic relief that doesn't really distract from the album too much. Animalistix and Gaz Shanksky make an appearance on "Move It." A portion of The Intruders' "Cowboys To Girls" is flipped for "Fuckin' Around", which features Butta Verses. This project must have been completed rather recently, as Butta makes a reference to the current BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It's a different type of song than I'm used to from Baron Von Alias, but it doesn't seem to be forced. "Lamb To The Slaughter" and "It's Not Enough" are both intense songs that showcase some rapid-fire lyrics from the makeshift duo. "Be Me" and "In My Mind" are much more mellow by comparison. "Drifting Into Darkness" seems to find the balance between the two extremes. The track actually faintly reminds me of an uptempo version of an old song by The Coup called "Me & Jesus The Pimp In A '79 Grenada Last Night." Here, MistaBreeze delivers some of his most poignant lyrics, as he raps:

"I find myself drifting, I've had enough of life
I'm ready to go now, and give my soul to Christ
Take these knives out my back
And give it to the ones that were supposed to be my friends, and that
Cause fuck this... I don't need you
I've gotten this far... the shit I've been through
The stress that I carry on these shoulders
If I could tell somebody, it'd probably bowl them over
Getting older, my body shakes as I get colder
My soul is frozen... hardly sober"

Things get experimental with "Can't Get Enough", which may do well in the dance clubs, but it seems to be somewhat out of place on this album. The release closes out with the title track, which features A.D.S. on the cuts. This album had a different feel to me than "Timezones & Loopholes." I suppose it doesn't hurt that the whole album is in English this time around. The production here works well with the emcees. It contains elements of both chamber music and boom bap hip-hop. An odd combination on paper, but it comes off nicely. Toss in some introspection and a few wild romps with the ladies and you'll have a fairly well rounded album that should have at least one theme song for every type of superhero.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: June 29, 2010