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On their fourth full-length, Vancouver-based Swollen Members return some to the harder-edged, melodic, intelligent hip-hop they've made their name with (thanks in some part to the appearance of Moka Only on two tracks). As always, the group has managed to collect a pretty impressive selection of guests, including Evidence from the Dilated Peoples, Ghostface Killah, Everlast, and Casual, among others, all of whom sound good and add verses that fit well with Swollen Members'. Black Magic isn't quite as strong as the group's first two albums, but it's a step forward, aggressive and confident, with consistently strong production, and should please fans as well as listeners just looking for new music.
Swollen Members Black Magic Battle Axe Records 4 Stars If you asked the average hip-hop fan to list some classic rap albums, they would probably list off The Chronic, Ready to Die, or The Blueprint at the drop of a fitted hat. However, you might never hear (or read) Swollen Members and classic Album in the same sentence. They’ve got the consistency thing down pat, put they always seem to be one or two garbage tracks away from a classic album. That being said, Swollen Members latest release, Black Magic, is chalk full of classic songs like “Blackout”, “Pressure” and “Too Hot”. The later sounds as though it’s lost in the wrong decade, but is a great throwback party anthem. “Blackout” kicks off the album like a starters pistol, and “Pressure” is what I like to call strictly Swollen Members. With a haunted house melody looped in the background and drums kicking you in the chest, you’re not going to hear a style like it anywhere else, it’s Trademarked “Swollen Members”. “Heart” offers up a Cypress Hill style beat while Prevail and Madchild flow over top with the greatest of ease. The albums lead off single “Put Me On” features Everlast and the guys in Swollen Members trying to balance two loves in their lives, women and music. The mellow and tortured beat help paint a clear picture of just how torn these men are trying to juggle their personal and professional lives. The one major fault of this album is length. At almost an hour and ten minutes, it really tests your patience when tracks such as “Weight”, “Prisoner of Doom”, and “Dynamite” could have been trimmed to create a leaner and meaner album. Cory Knibutat
Swollen is back
This album is fantastic. It harkens back to the days of Balance and Bad Dreams, and Madchild and Prevail let you know how life has been in the past few years through the array of songs. All dark, some dirty, there's cuts on this disc for anybody who was ever a Swollen fan. Check out 'Torture feat Casual', 'Weight feat. Ghostface Killah', and 'Heart' in particular. Also, go see their show when they come to your town.
Back to what brought yah.......
Proof that a band can capture, or re- focus once again what made what the fu ck they are. Hard lyrics, thought out beats, punches that bring you to your feet.
Formed: Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana
Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Swollen Members
||ExplicitPornstar (feat. Tre Nyce)||Armed to the Teeth||3:22||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPressure||Black Magic||3:23||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Brand New Day||Brand New Day||3:41||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBreath (feat. Nelly Furtado)||Monsters In The Closet||3:50||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Put Me On||Black Magic||4:05||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitWarrior (feat. Tre Nyce & Young Kazh)||Armed to the Teeth||4:50||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitToo Hot||Black Magic||3:33||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitFear (feat. Snak the Ripper)||Beautiful Death Machine||3:42||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitNight Vision||Dagger Mouth||3:48||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJuggernaut||Beautiful Death Machine||3:28||$1.29||View in iTunes|