Words About Music
Cold World “How the Gods Chill”
Combining hip-hop and hardcore music can be one of the riskiest moves a band can ever choose to do. It was risky when Anthrax did it, but they pulled it off. When Rage Against the Machine did it, they started a revolution. When Limp Bizkit did it… well… let’s just say “rapcore” became a derogatory word after that. Cold World, though, doesn’t appear to give anything resembling a shit about what past bands have done. This Pennsylvania group combines gruff New York hardcore sounds of Anthrax and Biohazard with the crossover thrash of Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer. But wait there’s more! “How the Gods Chill,” the band’s second album, features hip-hop breakdowns with verses from Meyhem Lauren and Kool G Rap. This maligned formula is destined for disaster, but it actually works.
Cold World sounds like a band that could have existed and thrived in the late-80s. With hip-hop and heavy metal both being that era’s most uncompromising popular genres of music, Cold World’s collaborations with Kool G Rap would’ve fit right in with Anthrax’s collaboration with Public Enemy. Lest we forget the underrated 1993 “Judgment Night” soundtrack that featured 90s metal and alt-rock royalty collaborating with the rap gods of the day (Sonic Youth with Cypress Hill, Slayer with Ice-T, Helmet with House of Pain, etc.) Cold World’s sound calls back a time where hip-hop and heavy metal lived together peacefully, and it’s a very bold move. It does present inconsistencies within the album that suggest something of a lack of identity.
While the rap collaborations (especially “Outro” which features perpetually incarcerated rapper Max B) prove that Cold World is an ambitious group in this day and age, a good portion of the other songs, especially on the back half of this LP, feel sort of boring and unnecessary. The slow-burning “Never” feels like a mid-90s Metallica song and the off-kilter “Find Your Way” feels like a late-period Suicidal Tendencies song. Cold World provides a nostalgia I didn’t know I wanted at the beginning of the album, but as it passes the halfway mark they provide a nostalgia I know I didn’t want. The best of crossover thrash and the worst of nu-metal are present on this album. I mean, “Omega” sounds like straight up Mudvayne.
Cold World is an ambitious band, and with this being their first new music in six years it feels spontaneous and retrospective. Unfortunately, though, some of the music on here calls back a time in hardcore music history I’m sure a lot of us would rather forget than be reminded of. Still, none of that stops the good songs on here from being good. Cold World’s direction is praiseworthy, but I think they need to think more about what they want to be as a band.
SCORE – 6.7
FAVORITE TRACKS – Blind, The Real Deal, Never Knows Best, Cracks of Hate (feat. Meyhem Lauren), No More Fun and Games, Youthful Expression 2014, Hell’s Direction (feat. Kool G Rap)
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