Frankly “God’s Hand” is confusing. I might be tipping my hand for the entire review in the opening paragraph, but if I am so be it. I was doing another of my regular searches for “obscure rap albums I haven’t covered” and came across an entry for the Axe Murder Boyz, a Denver duo of twins who briefly rose from the underground to ink a deal with ICP’s Psychopathic Records. As quickly as they surfaced they sank beneath the waters, and if you thought their submersible imploded after they left the label I wouldn’t blame you. (Too soon?) They never gave up on the relationship though, returning for another brief stint in the 2010’s and making appearances at Gathering of the Juggalos. My confusion is simply the result of wondering why anybody involved felt the need.

“Charlie Manson ain’t shit! My family be legit!”

I enjoy horrorcore when it’s done right. Esham, Gravediggaz, Geto Boys, and a lot of other progenitors of the genre set a high standard for how to do it. It’s not as simple as comparing yourself to serial killers or talking about how many bodies you can mutilate. That would be like saying anybody could make a horror movie by putting on a hockey mask on someone, sticking a chainsaw in their hands, and film them slicing their way through mannequins filled with blood squibs. You can mimic the tropes, but can you make it interesting? Can you just say some gruesome shit, or can you tell a good story with a macabre ending? Can you do it over some dope beats, or do you just phone it in and think saying disturbed shit will cover your tracks?

What’s stranger about “God’s Hand” is how often they seem to be running from the very genre they’re associated with. At some point I began to wonder if I was listening to a Christian rap group instead of a Psychopathic Records one. The album’s name could have been a subtle message implying that evil is engineered by a higher power to test humanity’s faith. Instead it often feels like the Garcia twins are actually trying to convert people TO faith, throwing in bars about how their Lord and savior will great them on the day of judgment. This makes attempts their attempts to subvert their own narrative on songs like “Peace” even more odd. They try to use the word as a double entendre on the hook but the moment I hear the words “the lesson that I teach” I know there’s a small Bible in their back pockets.

Sing-song tracks like “Apocolypse” (they purposefully misspelled it) aren’t hard or grim — they’re annoying. Raps like “I never use a condom when I’m fucking your mindframe” aren’t clever — they’re idiotic. The best music of the song is found during the chorus, and the backdrop for the actual bars sounds thinner than one ply toilet paper. At 19 songs and over 70 minutes total there’s not enough material to justify listening to their release for that long. All you’ll think when listening to a rap like “God’s Hand Killers” is that they’re a poor man’s Insane Clown Posse with an unfortunate Christian overtone. Why would you listen to them and not the originals?

Despite my sincere efforts to see what “God’s Hand” had to offer, I came to the conclusion that this album was obscure for a reason, and their on-again off-again relationship with Psychopathic wasn’t a coincidence. While the group may be big in the 303 area code (Denver) they love to reference, they feel like a big fish in a small pond who suddenly found themselves in an ocean full of sharks. That would have been a great horror movie premise — your day trip to go fishing went horribly wrong, there’s blood in the water and you’re the “small fish” in an ocean full of starving sharks. You have to fend off both their hungry advances and your own looming madness as you realize you’re all alone with no hope of rescue. That’s free AMB, you can have that one, make a song about it and give me a reason to listen to you in the future.

Axe Murder Boyz :: God's Hand
3.5Overall Score