Artist: Slave Unit
Album title: Through With You
Release Date: Available now
Label: WTII Records
Genre: Industrial thrash rap metal
Five years since his last release, Californian Mike Welch’s Slave Unit return with more confrontational socio-political industrial rap metal.
Throughout the first two tracks, Fuse and 3, Marching drumbeats and aggressive, influences with shouted diatribes influenced by a distinctly hip-hop flow a la Biohazard intermingle with guitar work which is definitively unique but evokes the industrial thrash and chugging riffage of Pantera or Ministry one minute, and distinctly Californian, rich rocky undertones the next. Moody, warm rock is realised through these angry, brooding, growly guitars and the punky rap metal attitudes blares through on Indestructible
The pace is smooth yet confident, and the rich instrumentation takes on a couple of experimental influences in Rep.Resent, with a little light synthwork and slightly dub-like, more street style percussive experience. We can feel the bands roots stretching back to the heady days of Californian rap-metal here, and it’s a bit of a trip down memory lane for me, who hasn’t really heard this kind of sound in a while!
It is also a cathartic work, Welch working out his beefs throughout tracks such as I Don’t Care Anymore. The band work within this retro framework, which describes 90% of the overall sound, however, they are not afraid of mixing it up a bit with other influences. Lordfly for example exhibits the sort of churning, stewing guitars and down-tempo, steady-yet-intricate percussion reminiscent of A Perfect Circle, this, combined with Welch’s agonised, yearning wails makes this the stand-out track for me on this album, but Tamo (Push) comes a close second, as the first truly balls-out rock, much faster and more energetic, and groovier too.
The intro to Lower is very Panteroid, yet it soon morphs into the rock style of Janes Addiction before finally evolving into head banging metal again. Typical is yet again much faster, more energized and “moshable.” The track order of the album seems a little strange - why leave all the turbo-charged songs till the end when a lot of the earlier album was quite down tempo, and could maybe have done with being broken up a bit? Mix it up guys!
We finish with Euthanize, a stripped back politicised rant, but realised through a more unusually paced delivery and experimental backing sonics. All in all I enjoyed the album a lot considering this hasn’t been ‘my thing’ since about 02! Although it was strange to start out with a down-tempo mood and end thrashing your brains out, maybe the band were trying to replicate the live-gig experience, and it is still an accomplished, solid piece of angry, punky, hip-hop infused industrial metal.
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