Friday, September 21, 2007

Grayskul - "Bloody Radio" - Rhymesayers (2007)

Grayskul’s latest offering, “Bloody Radio (Rhymesayers, 2007), their first release since 2005’s “Deadlivers”; is an album that shares a similar (albeit darker) feel to other artists coming off of the Rhymesayers label such as Atmosphere and P.O.S, yet it fails to leave a lasting impression after repeated listens; like numerous other albums have on this respectable indie label known for holding the torch for what’s known as “emo-rap”.

Grayskul, who are comprised of MCs Onry Ozzborn (aka Count Draven, Reason) JFK (aka Fiddleback Recluse, Count Magnus) and bassist Rob Castro hail from Seattle, Washington and came up on the underground circuit with the Oldominion collective based in the Pacific Northwest. On “Bloody Radio”, Grayskul definitely bring the gloom and chills similar to the unpredictable weather experienced on that part of the map.
“3000 Voices” kicks off the album with a mesmerizing, hazy beat while the chorus of “3000 voices and they’re speaking through you / No telling what these party people might do…” leaves you feeling as if you have just woken from a bad dream, yet you can’t recall exactly what it was all about.

Title track “Bloody Radio”, sports a beat that falls a few BPMs short of becoming a drum and bass track; which is coupled with double-time verses from Onry and JFK that are for the most part undecipherable. We are again left guessing as to what subject matter is being covered in this particular track. The chorus, “What makes the world go ‘round? Radio! / What makes you scream and shout? Radio?”, suggests that Grayskul are waxing poetic on commercial radio and it’s negative effects on society. Possibly, but then again maybe not.

Track by track the album takes the listener through the many different negative feelings one can have experience, ,paranoia, fear, confusion. The list goes on and on. Grayskul spit aggressively on the majority of the tunes that make up “Bloody Radio”; it just seems that their anger is directionless.

Thankfully, there are a few notable guest appearances on the album. Def Jux’s Aesop Rock and Cage take their turn on the “radio”, as does Rhymesayer’s golden boy Slug (from Atmosphere). The album’s standout is definitely “The Office” which features guest verses from Slug and Aesop. The beat features a soulful sample and steady drumkick that all MCs sound right at home on. The track would fit in nicely as a bonus track on either Aesop’s “None Shall Pass” or Atmosphere’s last release 2005’s “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having”.

Grayskul’s MySpace page states that, “Bloody Radio is a perfect blend of study music intended for the open-minded listener…”. While an open mind is definitely required in order to enjoy all types of music, one can only hope that Grayskul themselves maintain an open mind when creating their next project, even if that means taking some cues from the “Bloody Radio” that they seem to despise so much. It could reap some benefits.

Rating: 6/10

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