NHC GONZO DIVISION INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
My local album of the year was ‘CUNT’ by Gasp, but now for my international album of the year, this one’s from the USA. Because I found it more addictive than heroin, because every track on it is an auris vermis (an earworm), because they blew me away with a live show in September, and because I have listened to it daily since then! EPIC BEARD MEN. Two genius rappers in Sage Francis and B. Dolan combine to give you… SEASON ONE!
From the second I hear the arm-swaying, head-swaying melody of ‘Five Hearts’, I’m excited. Everything about this song is brilliant. An electronic overload until it’s game over. Auris Vermis level: 7.
Obviously I have a huge hard-on for ‘Shotgun Golf’ I was sold just by the homage to Hunter S Thompson but that was before I heard the grungy, dubstep-like aggression of a superb track that just makes you wanna, well… Hit a golfball and blow it out the motherfucking sky with a 12 bore. Auris vermis level: 6.
‘LET’S HIT THIS ONE FOR HUNTER Y’ALL LIKE ‘BOOM’ ‘FOOOOOUUUURRRR’
Let’s not forget all these amazing beats are heavily backed up by incredible lyrical dexterity from Sage and B, every line they drop on the third track is solid gold. The first time I heard ‘Two Different Worlds’ I thought it was a little poppy, but it grew on me exponentially until it became one of my favourite tunes of the last year. This song makes me feel so fucking happy! I think it’s a sample of ‘Hobo With a Shotgun’ or something? Auris vermis level: 10.
Some tracks that at first seem like track-fillers actually go on to be massively addictive tunes, such as ‘I’m Not Your Uber’. The choppy beats of which are very, very catchy. The breakdowns supplied by Dolan give it great depth, and that polar bear line is a belter! Auris vermis level: 6.
‘DIYMFS’ was the first track that stood out to me on the album, when I heard it for the first time live. It’s possibly the single of the record, or what would be the title track, a flagship song that demonstrates both the lyrical adroitness and the trademark style of the EBM in one smooth slice of hip hop art. The theme tune to an Epic Beard Men album. Auris vermis level: 8.
‘Fresh to Death’ is my least favourite song on the album, but that’s not to say it’s a bad song, far from it, it’s just the quality of this album is so high even a great song like this pales in comparison to its forerunners. I love the industrial, digital beats though. Auris vermis level: 2.
The staccato rhythm and strange development of ‘Space Ghettos’ is enticing. The dual lyricism is breakneck genius wordplay with lots of subtle references. It’s a nice interlude, because the album goes up to begin with, plateaus for a few tracks, then turns the dial up to ten, raising the bar for the last few bars. Auris vermis level: 2
‘Dumb Ass Kids’ ignites a fire in my belly! Such a hard-hitting well-delivered tune, aggressive, catchy, attention-grabbing, this song is resplendent with some of my favourite lines of the record from both Sage and Dolan – genius! Emotive, unsettling, exciting, Sage and B demonstrate their mastery of their craft with this one. Auris vermis level: 9.
Just in time for Christmas EBM give unto us one of the best Xmas-themed songs I’ve ever heard, if not the best! There’s not much competition, The Pogues and The Vandals and a couple of others. ‘War On Christmas’ is a raging explosion of energy bottled into a magnificent song that deserves to be Xmas no.1! Auris vermis level: 6
‘House of Bees’ opening verse by Sage and second verse by B are probably two of my favourite verses on an album full of mind-blowing articulate lyricism and oratory genius. This song is highly addictive and works as a perfect metaphor for the current state of the music industry. Sage and B can ride a beat like a jockey at the Grand National! Auris vermis level: 9
‘2 Bad’ once again demonstrates why these two rappers are among the best in the game, and their uncanny ability to find the best possible loops to rap over, it makes you wonder what sorcery and soul-selling to satan was involved for such a perfect tracklist of songs to come together! It’s rare to hear an album these days of such consistent quality! Auris vermis level: 8.
The last track is arguably my fave on the record, I can’t get it out of my head, a mix of amazing soul samples keeping it old school hip hop with an updated oompth. Sage’s lines in this are flawless, and B bounces off him to reciprocate the high-level rapping skill with dexterity. Auris vermis level: 10
Overall auris vermis (addictiveness) level: 83/100. Incredibly high score!
‘You Can’t Win’ but EBM win, they win the best album in the world in 2018 from this music journalist’s humble perspective. I’ve had this album on steady repeat since September, if you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out! Get it doon ye’! Find it for FREE here, though it’s worth many dollars http://epicbeardmen.com/