The Life Crew is making itself known across the Front Range. One of the reasons for this is that they are home to some of Colorado’s freshest MC’s. Among them are the prolific Ichiban and the ever pleasant and distinctive Deca. Well, the crew within the crew, known affectionately as The Pirate Sygnl (BDBEYON human emcee, Joey K, DJ Psycho, and Yonnas), is out to make sure that you don’t forget that this is truly a collective movement, not just the home to a few talented individuals. With their debut release Norma(l) Hugh Manchild’s American Revolution(s), they make a respectable case for themselves.
Obviously fueled by a grand vision, the album comes replete with one of the slickest jacket inserts ever—this includes national and international artists!—featuring a chillingly cool artist rendering, inspired graphics and track listings replete with the song lyrics. Sonically, the album comes alive with Orwellian-slash-Armageddon soundscapes that are almost Punk in nature, attacking your senses with a loud, in-your-face attitude. Titles like “Government Church,” “Burn Down The Country Club (w/ Gaura Shakdi),” “This Cold World (Concentration Camp),” and “A Fork In The Revolution,” only highlight this idea. This is post-apocalyptic theme music for the masses! And the vocalists do a phenomenal job of keeping up with the metallic, industrial proceedings. They provide smart, weighted lyrics to solidify the formidable tracks.
“Meet The Pirate Sygnl!,” a slight departure from the more inciting tunes, moves along like a war chant. Its incessant drums and muted summer blockbuster horns almost a call to arms for the disenfranchised; or, at least a telling introduction to a group of guys that have found their voice in the void. Various instrumentals (Walking Away From Ring 1 (DIY), Scaling Up Ring 2, and Sojourning Down Ring 3), not only offer a break from the barrage but also offer a chance to reflect upon the deep, complex verbal proceedings. They could be a sort of narration for what has passed and what is to come.
These guys put a lot of effort into this recording and it shows. They have a passion and allow you to feel it. The album suffers from its inconsistent sound, however—some songs obviously recorded better than others. A solid effort tainted by such a simple oversight.
If you are a fan of Rage against the Machine, chances are this mix will have great appeal to you; if not, you’d better like mosh pits and thinking. Otherwise you’ve got the wrong record. In the end, though, it is probably best to say that this is one of those albums that sounds better when performed live!