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Boxcutter - "The Ill Testament" (CD)

Boxcutter - "The Ill Testament" CD cover image

"The Ill Testament" track listing:

1. Kingz Of Thugz
2. BFL Soldier
3. Ghetto Story, Part. 2
4. Crown Of Righteousness
5. Too Young To Die
6. History Lesson, Part. 1
7. You Scared?
8. Let's Do This
9. The Recipe
10. Get Up
11. Ghetto Story, Part. 1 (Bonus Track)
12. Move 'em Out (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on July 31, 2009

"'The Ill Testament' is a monument to how a different approach to something can not only work, but produce a truly awesome result."

There are thousands of hardcore bands in the world, but not often do you come across one that offers something original and interesting. Boxcutter is one of those bands. Their third studio record, "The Ill Testament," is a monument to how a different approach to something can not only work, but produce a truly awesome result. By injecting hip-hop into their sound, they've got the ability to appeal to a wide audience without abandoning their hardcore roots.

Something you'll notice about Boxcutter as soon as the first song, "Kingz Of Thugz" starts up, is that they continually reference classic hip-hop songs and artists such as Run DMC, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys (who themselves started as a hardcore group) and the infamous Slick Rick. "Kingz Of Thugz" as you might have guessed, pays tribute to the Run DMC classic, "King Of Rock," and, like a couple of the tracks on the album, might not appeal to people who picked up the album for its hardcore tendencies, as this is one of the tracks that tends to focus more on hip-hop. It's a good song, but perhaps not the best to open the record with.

The next few tracks are brutal and relentless, offering a great mix of both worlds. You can bob your head to the songs like any good hip-hop song or you can slam dance to your heart's content and shout along. They include some interesting decisions too, including having the young son of one of the members spit his own verse in the song "Crown Of Righteousness," (which he does flawlessly I might add) and using several lines from Slick Rick's legendary song, "Children's Story" in the song, "Ghetto Story Part. 2."

The band takes a more mellow approach with the song "Too Young To Die," which pays tribute to fallen friends before heading back to vicious hardcore with "History Lesson Part. 1," a song which bears a resemblance to the Beastie Boys song, "Paul Revere." The album does have a few songs which I felt let the record down a little though such as "You Scared?" and "The Recipe," the latter of which I found to be boring and almost mainstream with its beat. These two songs seemed like too much of a departure from the rest of the album to allow the whole record to flow fluently.

All in all, "The Ill Testament" is a fantastic release. There's songs that won't appeal to everyone but the same can be said about practically any album. The band's pros far outweigh their cons and they deserve plenty of recognition for their ideas and songs. Pick it up if you're a hardcore fan looking for something a little different.

Highs: Great sense of enthusiasm, quality music and original ideas.

Lows: One or two songs feel boring and repetitive.

Bottom line: A surprising treat for fans of both hardcore and hip-hop.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)