Twiztid – The Darkness (2015) – If Insane Clown Posse are trying to lead people into the light, then Twiztid are most certainly trying to lead them into the darkness, with an album title that seems to further reinforce that fact. Technically Twiztid’s first independent album (they released two EP’s in 2013), The Darkness explores many different sides, with some definitely containing more rock elements (referencing Mutant) like the Korn-influenced chorus of “Back To Hell 3:44” which marked itself as a standout from the beginning.
The whole album seems to be focused on delusion, madness and damnation which might be why the band broke free of Psychopathic and the noted religious overtones that are probably going to be further enforced on the label. These guys never really struck me as the religious type, and none of their albums have really dealt with the kind of salvation that you’ve heard from ICP as of late. I feel that Twiztid are the ICP of this generation, as they seem to reach closer towards the hip hop standards of today and feel like a modernized version of that which inspired them.
There’s no doubt that these four Detroit natives are all great poets and that Twiztid was certainly influenced by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, but they’ve taken that formula, upgraded it and ran with it on this rather creepy disc. “In Hell 4:46” opens the album quite well with a mix of slow rhymes, darker vocal tones and a secondary bite of speed with Monoxide. Make no mistake, when he starts spitting, the whole song takes off for me. That’s what I liked about the band’s previous record, Abominationz as well. Even though the beats in use here are extremely familiar to virtually any fan of modern hip hop, the fact that the lyrics are based in horror topics seem to make it appeal a bit more to me.
“Back To Hell” isn’t so great on the lyrical setup, but I really like the chorus here. As I said, there’s a certain Johnathan Davis emulation here and that should pop out. When the two start rapping in the latter half of the song, the track really starts to take off. They probably should have just started it with a rap from the beginning, as people who skip tracks after the first few minutes will miss out on the better half of the song completely. After a funny little skit, “A Little Fucked Up 3:50” comes off as a solid rap track and virtually anyone who likes beats, rhymes and horror imagery will find it intriguing.
After a little skit about the Boogieman, a classic lesson in horrorcore ensues with “Boogieman 4:33” and that continues with a FAM pride song in “Down Here 5:00” which serves as a shout out to the darker side of society. “F.T.S. 3:28” is a rock-influenced track about rebellion and basically, looking at things and telling them fuck off. It’s a little filler, but I’m not going to complain too much about it compared to the majority of stronger tracks I’ve heard on the disc. “Take It Away 4:30” changes the mood completely, starting out like a light ballad to later add guitars and beats while still keeping the same structure of a typical rap ballad. It’s decent enough.
“On And On 3:10” comes off catchy in an almost commercial sense. It’s not entirely unheard of for the band, and these guys did make it rather high on the Billboard charts with 2009’s W.I.C.K.E.D. so the potential for them to become mainstream does exist. “No Breaks 2:55” adds a seventies influenced beat to a more serious line of material. It’s also quite decent, but just sort of comes and goes. “Seance 3:15” comes next and I expected it to be a little stronger. There’s some good lines, but it doesn’t really catch my attention. “Breakdown 4:04” originally came from the band’s 2013 Get Twiztid EP and starts out with a thunderstorm that goes right into a speedy set of rhymes, as guitars back another catchy chorus. Ultimately, it’s a hit. Once you hear it, you won’t need me to tell you that.
“A Mind Goes Mad 3:46” also came from that EP but I don’t really feel it. It’s got a little bit of R&B influence to the chorus, even though I like the idea to add elements of baroque to the beats. The last track on the disc is definitely one of its best. It’s essentially an eerie rap about murder in the woods, which is a great way to end a record entitled The Darkness. Now I’ll admit that there are a few songs sandwiched on here that really aren’t that dark at all, but I guess it’s a good thing for those who didn’t get a chance to grab the band’s second EP (which was rather short, to be honest) as they’ll get to check those extra tracks out for the same price.
But does that mean there are only technically twelve tracks on the new album? Yes, but for the most part they’re solid cuts and they offer exactly what Twiztid fans want. I’ve been a fan of these guys for many years now and The Darkness definitely shows them still at their best, twelve albums later. Very few rappers can do that, and in the modern world of hip hop music, very few rappers actually get the chance to make as many albums as these guys have. Twiztid might be independent now, but they’ve proven themselves to be just as big as the duo that originally inspired them. Get consumed by The Darkness.
(19 Tracks, 58:00)