Andrew W. Boss – Invincible (2017)

As you should expect, there are a variety of artists covered here, like this Utah based rap-metal artist Andrew W. Boss. Now I don’t listen to that much rap metal these days, and feel that the scene petered out a while ago in the mainstream. But when I was a younger man, I quite enjoyed this style of music. What’s best about this disc however, is that it actually manages to capture the genre at it’s strong point, being quite comparable to what I’ve considered to be one of the best rap metal releases of all time, Limp Bizkit’s debut, Three Dollar Bill Ya’ll. After the band became famous, they watered down much of the grit and heaviness explored on that album; but I’m seeing a real mix of the two styles of rap-metal on this recording. Some of it hits, while other pieces just come off a bit corny.

The first cut we have here is “Avengers” which comes off with a familiar rock/rap vibe, packed with decent rhymes and a catchy chorus. Definitely radio friendly. There are also some electronic portions that add to the performance. This is actually not bad. “Kleen” is a bit heavier, utilizing downtune and another catchy chorus to make for a rather strong note. Maybe some of the vocals are overkill, but this is definitely WWE music. The next cut is the album’s title track, which contains much heavier downtune (I suppose this is courtesy of guest guitarist Pablo Viveros, who should be a permanent member of the act as this piece has the best performance of the whole shebang. Makes sense that actual metal riffs should appear on a rap metal record, right?) and some djent. It’s the standout and should be the single. Make a video for it. “Decay” comes next with the other guitarist, who I suppose is a session dude and not that great. He also seems to head towards melodic hard rock, which is good for the sung choruses (Andrew can sing relatively well in some instances) but not as memorable as the previous. “Apple Pie” is more of a love song, maybe a little too much “rocking Bieber” for me, but to each their own. “Breakdown” is more of a hip hop track, which might be due to the influence of “Clawson and 5280 Mystic.” It actually sounds more like Linkin Park, especially in the chorus line. Two rappers appear on the album, one closer to Andrew and the other in the style of the urban hip hop that the guys bump at work. “Wreck The Place” comes off a little heavier, namedrops a lot of rap metal acts and seems like a bit of bragging. The guy’s good, but I think he’s better at singing than rapping, especially compared to half of the rappers he mentioned. Clawson ate him whole on the last track and I’ve been listening to a lot of rap over the years, especially in the horrorcore/nerdcore genre. But on the other hand, Andrew has a voice for radio. That could serve him very well in the future.

“Mist of Grey” sounds a bit similar to much of the other songs on the album, which is not a problem because this is starting to have a Hyrbid Theory vibe and that’s no detriment. Now, unfortunately we have one of the corniest tracks on the album next, which is “Let Me Hear You.” I believe there may be a video for this, and if there is – I’m sure the commentary is golden. There’s just too much reiteration of the chorus line here that it starts to sound needless redundant. Bands of this nature were guilty of similar things, but there are much better examples of his work than this piece. It does allow him more than enough room to flow, proving that perhaps he can match Clawson and I was wrong after all. It almost sounds like he’s going for “Rap God/Speedom” territory here, which might appeal to more than enough people than the reiterated chorus. At least the bridge is decent enough to make it not come off so redundant. I think I’d like it more if I was still a teenager though. The next track, “Coming For You” actually manages to hit the same territory as the title cut, even without Viveros featured as a guest. It’s also one of the heavier cuts, complete with a strong guitar solo. A definite highlight. As you might expect, “Breaking Bridges” comes off a bit lighter, but not that light. There’s still some thump here, which could be the kind of thing that rap metal needs right now, especially if it wants to come back into the mainstream, which could be possible considering the popularity of hip hop in the US right now. I almost wonder as to how many people would latch onto this guy from one song, and what song it would be that they would best latch onto. In any case, this record is certainly much stronger than you’d expect and is right up there with Hybrid Theory, though not as pummeling as parts of Three Dollar Bill Ya’ll. The very last cut we have here is “Regret” which comes off as a decent ending, it’s not really worth any real explanation – just a basic rock rap track with another radio-friendly, catchy chorus.

At the end of the day, Andrew W. Boss has a great deal of promise as a rap/metal/alternative artist in the mainstream. There’s no question about that. I found the album rather listenable and would recommend several of the cuts to fans of the genre. In the underground, rap metal has proliferated quite a bit, but I don’t think that we’re going to see as many memorable artists in this genre as we have here. Oddly enough, The Grim Tower actually recommends Invincible.

(12 Tracks, 43:00)

8/10

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/album/1MOPN2EceI0zGz1x6ZNOPZ

CDBaby:

https://store.cdbaby.com/m/cd/andrewwboss2

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