Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Record label: Suburban Noize
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
Swollen Members :: Beautiful Death MachineSuburban Noize RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonAfter a three decade span from the late 1990's through the early 2010's, Swollen Members have shown an enviable amount of longevity in the music industry. Many groups flame out long before that due to substance abuse, record label politics or the old standard "irreconcilable differences" due to big egos within the crew. Well the Members of this crew may be Swollen, but they haven't let their big heads get in the way of becoming hip-hop legends.
If beautiful death machines are low-riders fitted with Gatling guns as the cover to this release suggests, then Swollen Members are underground hip-hop's auditory equivalent with street lyrics being rapidly blasted out on the group's tenth album. Big highlights here have to be the posse cuts with "Death to You" featuring Vinnie Paz, Ill Bill, and Slaine all mixing it up with the Members while Esoteric, Celph Titled, and Apathy guest star on "Colossal Beats," a giant monster movie on wax. The Members-only cuts are nearly as hot with "Bax War" (a twitchy, strident swagger anthem that creeps right up the spine) and "Juggernaut" (another giant monster movie, but with a weird electro soundtrack) leading the pack.
Much can be made of the work put forth by the Swollen Members since Madchild kicked a heroin addiction. After he became sober- around 2009- the trio dropped Dagger Mouth, and haven’t slowed down since. Their newest album, Beautiful Death Machine, marks the group’s fourth release in that four-year span. Per the old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it,” Beautiful Death Machine utilizes the formula most commonly used by the Swollen Members: deep, dark production laced with honest and thought-provoking lyrics.
There's much to like on Beautiful Death Machine, Swollen Members' eighth studio album: the production is dark, ominous and heavy, while Mad Child and Prevail's delivery sounds crisper than ever. Unfortunately, there is also one fairly glaring shortcoming: there's entirely too much rapping about rap. Fully two-thirds of Beautiful Death Machine is dedicated to the Members talking about how good they are at rap.