December 8, 2017 Prayers – Baptism of Thieves (Album Review)
Formed in 2013, in San Diego, California, United States, by Rafael Reyes and Dave Parley, the duo Prayers first shot to popularity in 2014 with their single “From Dog to God,” which was among the tracks that comprised their debut album released that year, SD Killwave.
The Gothic Hip Hop combo style of Prayers was already apparent right from the start, but this was further developed in the immediate follow-up, that same year’s Gothic Summer. This hybrid music styling was what interested the likes of Gothic Rock luminaries such as The Cult’s frontman, Ian Astbury, who personally selected Prayers to open their own 2014 U.S. tour.
Prayers unleashed another successful album in 2015, the Travis Barker–produced Young Gods. Now, the unrelenting duo are at it again, releasing another batch of Hip Hop oriented songs that, interestingly, have the DNA of Gothic/Synthpop bands like Bauhaus (“She’s in Parties”), Christian Death (“Believers of the Unpure”), Depeche Mode (“Enjoy the Silence”), and Pet Shop Boys (“West End Girls”) as well as with strains of Hip Hop classics like Coolio (“Gangsta’s Paradise”), Wreckx-n-Effect (“Rump Shaker”), and Kanye West (“Diamonds from Sierra Leone”).
Released on November 24, 2017 through BMG, Prayers’ new full-length, Baptism of Thieves, opens at a frequency of 528Hz and then segues into the chops and punches of the Gangsta Rap “Death Is in Bloom.” This transitions to “Tears in the Rain,” whose melody is founded on Depeche Mode sensibilities, Violator phase; followed by the ominous synthbass beat of “Edge of the Blade,” which will fit well on a dancefloor-ready playlist that includes “Así Me Gusta A Mí (X-Ta Sí, X-Ta No)” by Chimo Bayo, “Deeper Underground” by Jamiroquai , “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim, and “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys.
“Beauty and Bedlam” is another melodic affair, once again combining Gothic and Hip Hop to full effect. The sinister sound carries on in the ensuing “Trust Issues,” which features the American Electronic musician known as Pictureplane, giving the track its soulful flare amidst the boom-bass explosive tendencies. The tempo speeds up, and the sweat from the bouncing bodies drips more profusely as “One 9 One 3” and “Wild Roses” trigger the climax of the party.
Another trek back to the cool Gangsta paradise of congregating low-waist, backwards bullcap–wearing, eyelined Hip Hoppers continues to energize the party with the sparse beat, dark rhythm, and metallic melodies of “Lucifer Rising,” further dimming the ambience to the delight of the ecstatic and raucous partygoers. Prayers then pays homage to ’80s Synthpop with the sadomasochistic sonic imagery of “Black Leather,” featuring the equally seductive and alluring American Artist Kat Von D.
Finally, before sucking in the listener to a hypnotic tunnel of spiraling, organ-drenched cacophony at a frequency of 432Hz, Prayers dish out their roof-raising title track, signaling the surely momentary end of the baptism of lovers and thieves, speaking in tongues under the same wave and beat. There is definitely another ghetto blast of such congregations to come in the sure future.
In this age of genre-defying music revolution, rarely does an artist or a group come up with something that breaks boundaries and crosses cultures and surfaces successfully with this fearless flight of sonic styles. With their latest offering, Prayers prove that their music has the power to lure enthusiasts of different genres into the same scene without the need to renounce their respective influences and proclivities. CrypticRock gives Baptism of Thieves 4 out of 5 stars.
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