By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
In the press release accompanying this unrelenting piece of shit, the group's "vocalist" Chris Barnes says the titles of his "songs" tell you exactly what each one is about. He's not kidding; just get a load of these choice cuts: "Force Fed Broken Glass," "Stripped, Raped and Strangled," "The Pick-Axe Murderers" and, of course, the incomparable "Fucked With a Knife."
In defense of this last morsel, Barnes asks listeners to read the lyrics before deciding whether he's glorifying violence against women. A quick glance at the insert should acquit Barnes of all charges--he covers himself by singing "she liked the way it felt inside her." Ick!! Now Simi Valley, California (home of Metal Blade Records), has two stupid decisions to answer for--the Rodney King verdict and releasing this blood bath!
One last note before permanently closing the coffin lid on Cannibal Corpse. It could hardly help NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) to have Cannibal Corpse soliciting supporters for pro-pot legislation on a grizzly, blood-stained CD insert that has all the warmth of a just-zipped-up body bag. Maybe the band should change its name to Cannabis Corpse and play at all of NORML's rallies, just to prove that marijuana truly does lead to the stronger snuff.--Serene Dominic
The Funky Headhunter
And just when you thought it was safe to turn the radio back on comes the undisputed king of Oakland, California, the one and only Hammer, sans the M.C., with his attempt at original gangsta rap.
Headhunter is filled with sucka-soundin' weak beats that leave you with a Mr. Softie feeling. This album is too corny and clearly all commercialization, a last-ditch effort for Hammer to throw away his Sinbad pants and save his ass. I feel sorry for the man. Hammer needs help, and a lot more help than what he asked for from Teddy Reily, The Dog Pound (Snoop Doggy Dogg's label) and Roger Troutman from Zapp.
This album can in no way be considered hip-hop. I don't know why they even put it in the "rap" section. Apparently, the sales clerk got confused by the O.G. tissue paper Hammer wraps himself in. Guess what? The paper is see-through and so is he. Hammer needs to shop for a thicker brand like Scott T.P., and that's what this 100 percent whack CD should be wrapped in before you toss it out!
Hammer is an entertainer, a businessman, an entrepreneur, but not a rapper.--Danielle Hollomon Rollins Band
Remember the Scared Straight program? That was where juvenile offenders were taken inside a maximum-security prison to hear lifers talk tough to them about what it's like in the big house. Weight is sort of like that, except the listener gets to spend 53 minutes imprisoned inside Rollins' paranoia. It's a world of anger, a world of tears, a world where you can't even go out for a pack of smokes without being tied up, raped, dragged down the street and torn limb from limb. This album will have you so convinced it's a worse jungle on the outside that you might volunteer to spend the night in Leavenworth for your own safety.
"You're pathetic and weak/I'd like to crush you like an insect" is just one of guest speaker Rollins' many icebreakers. Every song begins like an intervention for the impressionable with Rollins gently addressing his wide-eyed pupils, then slowly building up a froth until by the chorus he becomes Ralph Kramden in Dante's Inferno.
But he's not going to take the heat for your stupid mistakes, which is why every man, woman and child should be required to listen to "Liar." On this tuneful tirade, Rollins warns that smiling faces not only don't tell the truth, they'll turn you into pathological, zombie liars just like him. Yet disdain is not a one-way street; in "Divine Object of Hatred," he invites all and sundry to "let me know your hatred's real." Even if you don't agree with all his tough raps, you've gotta love an album that pays tribute to both Black Sabbath (one song's titled "Vol. 4") and the Ray Charles Singers (abuse me with all of your heart, that's what I'm here for"). Truly heavy.--Serene Dominic
Far Beyond Driven
This long-awaited follow-up to the phenomenal Vulgar Display of Power was expected to be the thrash album of the year--but not so fast. Although Pantera is still quite heavy and immensely popular, the band no longer seems to groove the way it did on Display. One comes away remembering very few of the songs here, which is dangerous.
"Strength Beyond Strength" opens the album with breakneck speed and hellion guitar runs, but the album soon drifts into some bizarre keyboard passages and ruins its lethal sting. A general guideline for Pantera: A little keyboard is too much keyboard.
There are a couple of bright spots, though.
"I'm Broken," the first single from Beyond Driven, rings a bit much of classic Black Sabbath, but its lyrics are still classic, angry Pantera. Hearing vocalist Phil Anselmo belting em out is like hearing a one-way conversation with Satan on speed.