Expect to stand back in awe at the sheer weight of contrast on this impressive new project from Anubis. Take the opening track GraveSites as a fitting example – an ambient and dreamlike backdrop floats through in stark juxtaposition with the pace and poetic complexity of the rap flow. A single listen is far from enough to truly catch every bar and every idea, a fair few of these thoughts and references go over your head at first, but the ones you manage to catch are insanely impressive and more than enough to make certain you revisit for seconds.
Anubis has a unique sound and writing style right now. This project is cinematic and smooth, detailed and concise, musically colourful and lyrically incomparable. Channel Souls follows the opener and intensity pours through from the offset. Darkness and entrancing repetition makes certain you’re paying attention. The whole thing is unsettling as you listen to the artist confronting this turmoil and chaos in a captivating fashion.
This all begins to feel like a theatrical performance or a crucial series of episodes in a life, rather than simply a soundtrack to your day. Contrary to that though, recordings like Black Mirror do seek to include a sense of calming movement and flow. Arrangement is important and The Under Dog keeps that in mind throughout. Instrumental pause allows you to breathe and reflect.
Contemplating Homicide re-injects intensity and weight into the process, a slower delivery sees things get notably personal and compelling in being so. The musicality is striking, working well to reflect the heavy subject matter. Chopping Heads afterwards keeps that shock factor at the forefront of the experience and offers a twisted look at blood and gore as a new vocal leads with rhythm, grit, and a hint of tribal reinforcement in the background. A powerful track that’s easily one of the most memorable and striking of the entire album. A definite creative highlight.
Southside brings in a mellow vibe and helps you re-adjust after the manic conflict from before. A smooth beat, jazz-cafe-like in nature, is given context by a gently whispered vocal and a series of ideas reflecting on modern life and the role of the individual. The varied production efforts throughout the album showcase an unwavering ability to craft something effective and meaningful, whatever the topic may be. This track lulls you into an unexpected state of calm.
Inescapable intensity returns as Asylum slams into action. The political climate comes to light, issues much bigger than the self, dark and difficult with nothing held back. The rhyme scheme and the wordplay is phenomenal, as is the performance – the rapper barely pauses to take a breath. You feel the depth of the concept and the passion with which it needs to be presented. Undoubtedly another one worth listening through more than a couple of times to truly grasp every point and fully appreciate the conscious and intelligent nature of the writing.
Heaven And Hell offers up something of an anthem as the final track on the project. Theatrical details and a short-lined rhythm create a feeling of mounting anticipation as the piece gathers momentum and fills the room. It feels uncertain, unfinished perhaps, but mighty in appearing that way considering the ideas presented within.
There’s very little else, if anything at all, that’s quite like this at present. Anubis has poured so much into the project that it mesmerizes in more than a few different ways. Absolutely worth a listen if the current wave of loops made big in the mainstream hip hop world have grown tiresome to you. Refreshingly smart and deeply considerate.