Sound — 7
Aleister X, known for his bizarre antics and showmanship, hit the music scene in 2000 with a self-released EP. Within five years, he was signed to Andrew W.K.'s STEEV MIKE record label. In 2013, Aleister X released his debut full-length album "Half-Speed Mastered". And while the album is an exceptional new take on modern music, it's so different that trying to pinpoint it's sound will leave you scratching your head in confusion. While the album is unlike anything I've ever listened to before, it definitely had some catchy moments where I found myself getting lost in the rhythmic flow of Aleister's vocals and beats. "Fairysnuff" is one the catchiest songs on the album; it's without a doubt the best track. The rapping takes a backseat to Aleister's electric guitar playing which makes the song sound like an 80s punk rock party song further leaving this album's sound undefined. This song would transfer over well live. Other parts of the album are very energetic. "LAX" and "Bad Vibrations" are lighthearted tunes that combine a rapping style similar to the Gorillaz with an instrumental rhythm that rivals Primus. However, the guitar steals the show in both these songs providing a large presence from its country western twang to its simple rock groove. However, the album takes a dark turn halfway through. "Topanga Strangla" follows a slow hip-hop beat that chops short its explicit lyrics. The beat almost seems nonexistent getting lost in an experimental somber sci-fi synth; this song almost doesn't work. "West Coast Tees" follows the same pattern of beats. Aleister seems to fall out of sync with awkward beats and his falsettos are unsettling. However, when the beat drops, he's a completely different rapper that shows off his mainstream ability.
Lyrics — 5
Aleister X's rhymes are simple yet mysterious in a way that almost doesn't flow with the beats, however, it's not something you can question but rather just accept as seen in songs such as "Hxllywxxd Signs", and "Domemaster Mike". Short punchy drums mixed with echoed choruses bring an element that is straight out of the 90s. His vocals are heavily reverberated and lyrics repeat themselves to the point that you'll find yourself going back to the chorus play after play. In "Fairysnuff" the lyrics "We will never die/Way up high/In the sky" will replay in your head way past the point of annoyance despite it being a rather catchy tune.
Overall Impression — 8
"Half-Speed Mastered" is like nothing I've ever heard before. The whole album has an underground feel to it that is very difficult to do in today's music industry. The guitar and keyboard add on to make the most interesting combination. One thing that needs to be worked on is the quality of the recording. If Aleister X were to have a different studio and mixer then the end product would be a completely different album. That aside, the music seems ahead of its time and because of that, will most likely cause distaste with most listeners. However, not pigeonholing "Half-Speed Mastered" into a genre while being open-minded will make this album is enjoyable, if anything, hard to ignore.