Swollen Members - Beautiful Death Machine (Review)

Swollen Members - Beautiful Death Machine (cover)

Swollen Members are a group from Vancouver consisting of emcees Madchild and Prevail as well as producer Rob The Viking (although I'm not sure if he is an official member). The first time I heard of Swollen Members was back in 1999 when I ordered their debut album Balance. The album was dope as hell and got me quite interested in the group due to their dark beats and obvious lyrical abilities. After Balance, however, I kinda lost track of the group due to some singles I wasn't quite feeling at the time. I recently heard that they were dropping a new album and I decided now was as good a time as any to catch back up with them. Click to read the full review of the latest Swollen Members album Beautiful Death Machine, which dropped March 19th, 2013.

1) Inception / Darker Side Interlude - The album kicks off with a energetic instrumental by Aspect. The beat is appropriately dark and both Madchild and Prevail sound great over it. The chorus is mostly made up of older lyrics from their first album Balance. This song is one of the singles from the album and is a dope way to start the album. Hopefully the rest of the album is this good.

2) Death To You (featuring Slane, Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz) - The instrumental by C-Lance is an ill vocal sample which Prevail totally slays. The other emcees on here sound good, but I think Prevail took this track. Madchild is usually the one getting all the props, but Prevail is a lyrical monster. Dope!

3) Bax War - This time C-Lance drops a head nodding beat with some vicious horns and a piano loop over the top. The tongue-twisting chorus by Prevail is dope and both emcees bring it. This album is really good so far. The beats are banging and both emcees sound focused.

4) King of Diamonds / Disagree Interlude - This is one of the singles from the album and is the first  Rob The Viking production so far. The beat sounds pretty similar to the first track Inception. Not that this is a bad thing, but the beat here could have done a little more to stand out from the opening track. Regardless, the scratches on the chorus are dope Madchild rips this.

5) Juggernaut - Rob The Viking drops a very dubstep inspired beat on here. I wasn't quite expecting that on a Swollen Members album, but the end result is pretty good. The instrumental really takes off on the second half of the song and is full of some crazy energy. I knew Madchild would hold his own over this, but I was worried about Prevail for some reason. My worry was totally unjustified, however, since Prevail shreds it. Not sure if this is a standout for me, but its not filler.

6) The Difference / Watts60 Interlude - In a total 180 from the previous track, Rob The Viking drops a head nodding piano/guitar instrumental which brings the BPM back down to usual levels. This is dope. Madchild rips it
"People look at me like I am Hannibal Lector
The cannibal from Canada dismantle dissect ya"
7) River Monster / Underground Interlude - C-Lance returns with a hard hitting instrumental that brings some of the darkness back to the album. The lyrics on here are quite aggressive and reminds me of classic Swollen Members material. This is really dope.

8) Mercenary - Rob The Viking drops one of my favorite beats on the album. The piano loop epitomizes exactly what I like about Swollen Members - dark, hard hitting beats with intricate lyrics. Very nice. This is some straight hip-hop shit.

9) Colossal Beats (featuring Esoteric, Celph Titled and Apathy) - The instrumental by C-Lance sounds like something he crafted for a Jedi Mind Tricks album. Madchild and Prevail mercilessly rip the beat and Esoteric returns with the fire he spit on the Czarface album. Celph Titled and Apathy sound ok, but not as good as the others.

10) Almost Famous - The beat, by Rob The Viking, is very energetic and keeps with the darker theme of the album. When Madchild comes on, the beat switches up a little bit to have a dope piano loop. I believe this song was also a single off the album. Another ill track.

11) Death Warrant - Yet another C-Lance banger. Madchild and Prevail are sounding reinvigorated over these beats. This is fire. I really need to go back and check out some of their other albums that I have missed.

12) Fear (featuring Snak The Ripper) - The album closes out with another sinister C-Lance production. Madchild and Prevail come correct, but Snak The Ripper fails to impress me. Still, this is a dope way to end the album.

I'm going to rate the album a

4 / 5

since the beats and lyrics are dope throughout. The album only has 12 songs, but they are all strong and any filler tracks have been left off. Even the experimental Juggernaut, with its dubstep instrumental, is pretty tight. This album has inspired me to go back and check out some of the other material that they dropped in between Balance and now, since I ended up missing it somehow. I'd definitely recommend Beautiful Death Machine to any Swollen Members fan and any hip-hop enthusiast.


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