Year of the Dragon, Blunt Force Karma
As many people have read, Rice University has agreed to sell the radio frequency that KTRU uses to crosstown college The University of Houston. While this has been the subject of many a conversation among the local music scene, you may be asking: what does that have to do with this review?
The reason, as best I can tell, is that the editor of Space City Rock is a proud Rice alum, and he’s decided take his frustration over the deal out on me, you humble reviewer and a proud Coog alumnus.
[Ed. Note: I swear that wasn't the case, honest. Although the KTRU sale still sucks, I don't blame the Coogs themselves... ;^)]
That’s the only conceivable reason why I was sent Blunt Force Karma by Year of the Dragon. Anger must’ve blinded him to what torture this rap-metal abomination was about to inflict upon me and my speakers. Now, this band does feature Dirty Walt of the legendary Fishbone, but all goodwill from that band evaporates quickly by track 3. By then you will have grown tired of one of the worst guitar tones known to man. There are demos done in the bathroom of the guitar player’s girlfriend’s place that sound better than this. It’s an embarrassment that a musician with this much experience would have it.
However, that’s just a microcosm of the whole album. It’s supposed to have a loose theme in the science-fiction vein, but the lyrics are so drug-enabled that I couldn’t get them. Sometimes they confuse me to no end. Take “Destroy Your Fear,” for example, which seems to address racism but does it in such a confrontational manner that is undermines itself.
Then there are the vocals, which range from average on the singing side to almost comical on the rapping side. The rapping has this high-pitched, yet boisterous quality that can be somewhat endearing. This is exemplified on “No Tomorrow,” probably the best track you will ever hear that centers around partying because the world will end tomorrow.
Blunt Force Karma has very small glimpses of goodness, but they’re quickly overshadowed by the bad. It’s not someone being picky about things; it’s about a band delivering a quality product that they expect fans to buy. Year of the Dragon has made the decision to get away from their Fishbone roots and go in a heavier direction. On one hand, that’s an admirable move, but on the other, the world doesn’t need a resurgence of rap-metal.