February 9, 2015 Twiztid – The Darkness (Album Review)
The boys of Twiztid are back with a new, nineteen track album full of new songs, old favorites, and guest appearances. The Darkness, released January 27, 2015, is the tenth studio album and the twenty-seventh overall release by the Horror Rock icons Jamie “Jamie Madrox” Spaniolo and Paul “Monoxide Child” Methric. The Demented Duo have come a long way since their days in the House of Krazees, where the demoed tracks “2nd Hand Smoke” and “Diemuthafuckadie” turned the head of ICP member Violent J, getting them signed to Psychopathic Records as the Horror Core duo, Twiztid. Says Spaniolo, “Think of it as if there was a Halloween or Friday the 13th on wax and Jason and Michael Myers could actually rap, this is what their vibe would sound like.” After fifteen years with the Michigan based company and another two as Independents, the Painted Pair released The Darkness under their own label, Majik Ninja Entertainment, the second release after Blaze Ya Dead Homie’s Gang Rags: Reborn on October 21, 2014. The reason behind forming their own record label was to give unknown artists a chance, as they had once been given. The Darkness was recorded at “The Dojo,” the label’s recording studio, and produced by Michael “Seven” Summers and The Dead Beats. The first single, “Boogieman,” was released on December 3, 2014, the second, “Back to Hell,” was released on December 9th of the same year, while “All Fucked Up” brought in the new year, released on January 8, 2015.
The album starts off with the lengthy outgoing message on the answering machine of a Dr. Fallen Legna (aka Dr. Fallen Angel), and the first of three replies he gets over the course of time. The caller, a patient of the good Doctor, pleads and simpers on the tape, clearly headed for a psychotic break. The first musical offering is the one and a half minute long “Afraid of the Dark,” a slow, thunderous, almost bluesy song that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “In Hell” growls with a deep voiced, spoken intro, giving way to a Reggae-like speed rap that surreally suggests the message received when a Classic Rock record is spun backwards. The second single, “Back to Hell,” barrels down the highway of the listener’s ear canals, hitting roadkill speed bumps of both animal and human. The verses are driven by a devilish guitar with a tight, solid hook. Next is the second answering machine message for Dr. Legna, an earful from House of 1000 Corpses own Sid Haig, who bitches and grumbles his way through a diatribe about “Problems With Medication.” There seems to be a monster growling in The Darkness’ third single, “A Little Fucked Up,” an old school rap littered with samples and a beat that jumps from 45 to 78 rpms and back again through verses and hooks that fit together like the canines of a leviathan. The next track, titled “Boogieman (Intro),” is a spoken word, horror-filled, Grimm-like bedtime story told by a child’s sweet sounding Mommy. This leads into the first single, “Boogieman,” a song that pulverizes like a meat grinder with plenty of torque, the repeating lyric, “Boogie, boogie, boogie,” drilling into the listener’s eardrums, but filled with spectacular lyrics and an elemental storyline. Blue whales scream the intro of “Down Here” as the tone of the album drops even deeper into Twiztid’s dark, discomfiting basement, with a simple hook giving way to a thrumming bassline and pleading, emotionally razing lyrics that make this track one of the top of the album. The last answering machine message for the unfortunate Dr. Legna is a pissed off, simpering, rhyming message by Bill “Chop-Top” Mosely to his “Dr. Weasel.” “F.T.S.” hits the speakers like a pissed off punch in the kidney, speed rapping over buzzing chainsaw Metal guitars. A simple piano begins “Take It Away” before it evolves into burring, hornet’s nest vocals, bringing a monotonous, electric tone like a drill into the skull. Both the intro and the outro for “On and On” are just a few notes from a plucked electric guitar. The rest of the track is anything but simple, with a smooth, driving, drum-heavy beat and a fluctuating hook that ties together some of the best lyrics on the entire album. “No Breaks” is full of a funky, old school Rap sound like the mid-nineties Beastie Boys crashed the booth. The last two tracks on the main album, “Séance” and “The Exorcism,” tie together like the before and after shot of an intense Ouija board session. “Séance” is stripped down and carried by a distorted violin, cello, and ghostly background voices, with the vocals allowed to flow naturally, unencumbered by the rules of a beat. “The Exorcism” sounds like the dreams of the possessed, with demons screaming through a thunderous, single note.
Two of the album’s three bonus tracks, “Breakdown” and “Mind Goes Mad,” are featured on the Get Twiztid EP (2014). The first, “Breakdown,” begins with a soothing guitar and soft rainfall, trying to send the listener into a false sense of security, only for jackhammering lyrics and double blast beats to rip through the speakers like semi-automatic bullets punching through the side of an armored car. Another simple, single instrument opening for “Mind Goes Mad,” as a water damaged violin leads into smooth, jagged lyrics like creamy peanut butter mixed with metal shavings. The last, original track, “A Place In the Woods,” features Blaze Ya Dead Homie, an evil, out of tune piano, dark, nasty lyrics and the slowing heartbeat of an album come to rest.
Picking up where Abominationz (2012) left off, The Darkness is a heavy, dense album full of raw, deranged lyrics, slow but pulse-pounding beats and a whole lot of psychopathy. Standouts from this album are the melodic intros on many of the songs, some with only one or two instruments playing at a time, and the recorded answering machine messages by some of Horror’s most famous icons. Fans are hoping to hear that one of these nineteen tracks will end up as the soundtrack for the sequel to the 2014 “Sick Man” (A New Nightmare 2013) video that starred both Kane Hodder and Sid Haig. The Horror Hooligans have also mentioned a desire to bring about their own festival sometimes in 2015, as well as play at other shows throughout the year. Imagine what these two could do with their own manic event! As for the album, it is a perfect addition to any Rap fan’s rotation, Juggalo or not. Cryptic Rock gives The Darkness a 4 out of 5 stars.