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Pharoahe Monch/Th1rt3eN - A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism Music Album Reviews

Pharoahe Monch/Th1rt3eN - A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism Music Album Reviews
The Queens legend tests out an unwieldy rap-rock hybrid with a few promising moments that will test even his most devoted followers.

Since emerging from South Jamaica, Queens as one-half of Organized Konfusion in the late 1980s, Troy Jamerson’s has hewed closely to a recipe of complex rhyme patterns, intelligent social observation, and near-total lack of commercial compromise. For his tenacity, he’s been rewarded with a dedicated fanbase and the tag “underrated,” which sticks to him like spray paint to a wall. His audience will always be extremely loyal, so Monch’s first album in seven years—and first real crack at rebuking recent American nightmares—is a tantalizing prospect. What he delivers is a strange and in many ways confusing project that will test the limits of even his most devoted followers.
On paper, a Pharoahe Monch rap-rock hybrid album isn’t a totally outlandish prospect—his music has sometimes bared a hardcore edge. Previous project P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was a concept record about mental health that deployed heavy guitar lines to help depict the disintegration of the cerebrum. A Magnificent Day For an Exorcism eschews beats for a live band set up, as Monch teams up with drummer and Jack White collaborator Daru Jones and guitarist Marcus Machado to form the band Th1rt3en. The musicians thrash out blood-raw rock instrumentals for Monch—taking up the role of frontman—to rap, sing, and croon over. Promotional material connected to the record even shows the 48-year-old with an overgrown beard, kitted out in leather jacket and bandana. It’s all a bit “Kids, your father is in the basement, jamming with his friends.”

The Th1rt3en sound lands somewhere between Sabbath-esque metal, Onyx’s hard-moshing hardcore hip-hop, and Kid Rock. Machado’s guitar is turned way up in the mix and Jones’ drum thwacks land forcibly. But the predictable riffs and cheesy solos make for stodgy rap instrumentals. When Monch tries a rapid-fire flow over Machado’s fret-wrangling and Jones’s drum solos on “The Magician,” the whole thing collapses into a mess. Then Monch starts shouting “voodoo” and “magic,” as if to invite the spirit of Jimi Hendrix to come through and help out.

Take “Fight,” featuring Cypress Hill, a takedown of police brutality on Black Americans, with B-Real describing a cop removing his body cam before aiming a gun at the rapper’s head. The righteous anger is sapped away by the repetitive and clichéd guitar riff lurching underneath.

On top of unfurnished instrumentals there is unfocused songwriting. Opener and single “Cult 45” promises an admonishment of Donald Trump’s presidency that strangely dropped just days before the inauguration of Joe Biden. The cult of MAGA remains, of course, and ripe for probing, yet Monch’s shots are disappointingly shallow. “Nauseating, I'm angry, Bill Bixby/Exorcist, make the president's head 360,” is a fun piece of wordplay but hardly thought-provoking. “Racist” does feature one of the album’s most interesting loose bars as Monch takes a rare stance for a rapper and criticizes US drone warfare, something that predates Trump: “Send the drone strike to a school, call it political/Use Obamacare to get my brain operated on.” Sections of the song see Monch inhabit the persona of an American racist by parroting offensive language without taking the opportunity to go any deeper, and referencing Trump’s Muslim ban, revoked by Biden two days before the album’s release.

The saving grace is Monch’s performance. His flow, naturally funky and with a light lisp reminiscent of Kool G Rap, still embodies classic New York street-rap cool. The brain-bending flows of “Triskaidekaphobia” spark thoughts of Aesop Rock and confirm that even at this stage of his career, Monch absolutely loves rapping. At times he proves an adept rock vocalist too, and there are some interesting experiments on the record’s final third—the made-in-the-garage soul of “Amnesia”; the Japanese arcade sounds of closer “Kill Kill Kill”—hinting at promising future directions for Th1rt3en.

The most impressive song, though, is “Oxygen.” Monch croons an ode to perhaps god or maybe the air we breathe (or both), sounding like a holy man as he yells, “I need you in my life like oxygen/Holy water come and wash away the sins.” There is no direct reference to the death of George Floyd, but with the words “I can’t breathe” rippling through the social consciousness, Monch’s inclusion of these words in the chorus feels timely and pointed. Here, the band sounds tight and well-drilled, helping Monch navigate the corridors of his brain. Magnificent Day may be rough going at times, but he has chemistry with this group, and in the best moments, you can hear why Monch wants us to follow him down this particular path.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Pharoahe Monch/Th1rt3eN - A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism Music Album Reviews Pharoahe Monch/Th1rt3eN - A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, February 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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