Sound — 8
Mixing two opposite styles of music is never easy. Especially when mixing hip-hop with a style of metal/hardcore. But Downset come through to provide some catchy riffs, prominent bass lines and foot-stomping drumbeats. The mix of music is similar to that of Rage Against The Machine, with both bands being active at around the same time. The riffs are similar to that of Rage and the album sounds well produced. The bass line is not overpowered, the guitar complements this type of music without being too fast or too slow and the drums keep the whole song together. Songs such as 'Holding Hands' start down tempo before picking up with an aggravated shout and jumping straight into it. 'Ritual' does this in a similar way and for both songs the guitars are kept clean and simple allowing the other instruments to come in and direct the song into the usual Downset mode.
Lyrics — 9
Very much in the same vein as RATM, the lyrics are political and directly aimed at certain groups or people. Songs such 'Anger!' are about the death of Rey Oropeza's father by the Los Angeles Police. This song starts with repeated statements and then jumps into the hip-hop style of things with a quick blast which includes the lyrics of defiance: 'Yes they killed my daddy! Yup they killed my daddy! And if I don't blast 'em back, you know they gonna f--king kill me.' The social issues in America are also shown in the lyrics with 'Breed the Killer' being about the gang warfare in Los Angeles (from where the band originate), the objectification of women in 'Ritual'. The lyrics do not contain hidden meanings, but are more overt in their political statements, written about Los Angeles where the band grew up. The vocals are perfectly suited to the rapcore genre and Rey Oropeza's vocals range from the hardcore style of aggressive shouts to rapping in short blasts throughout the songs.
Overall Impression — 9
This is an album for fans of RATM, (Hed) P.E and Suicidal Tendancies. Downset are considered as an influence to the nu-metal and rap-metal bands of today, with their innovation of the rapcore genre. This album is worth checking out for the enjoyment of listening to and will have you nodding your head along to the beats and singing along to the simpler choruses. The breakdowns in songs like 'Take 'Em Out' provide a refreshing style typical of hardcore punk while fans of older hip-hop will not be let down by the lyrics. Thoroughly recommended to fans of guitar based music genres, as the elements of the album will fail to dissapoint.