Southern Born Killers
by Martin Popoff
Kudos to the indomitable Rich Ward for bringing this record to us like this. Go to the site, where it’s all explained, but essentially, they have downloads for you to hear, and are taking PayPal orders for a bricks and mortar CD that’s pretty deluxe. But it’s the music that matters, and Stuck Mojo have continued down their obstinate path of pure rap metal at a time when no one dare do it. Bonz has been replaced by Lord Nelson, and beneath the new guy’s old school rapping, you get, as always, Rich’s soul-replenishing croon, his huge, grinding riffs, and a scintilla of industrial chill wending its way throughout. “The Sky Is Falling” is a great example of the many strengths of this band, which include gorgeous choruses and imposing grooves. Rich’s complex and extreme (and extremely independent) politics are on display throughout, especially on incendiary first video “Open Season” on view now in its entirety at the site. “The Cause of Allah” addresses the same huge issue, and Rich goes with a Stuck characteristic – the sampling of interview segments – even though this song is a Zeppelin-esque chill moment, on which Ward’s immense studio manipulation talents are demonstrated, but in a restrained manner. “Metal Is Dead” proves that when Stuck Mojo is on the attack, no one is heavier. That riff just beats you up, and weirdly, it’s so mad at the world, any form of singing would lack the power of a spat-at rap, which is what you deserve and get. All told, Southern Born Killers is another expert foray into the half dozen or so characteristics this band owns alone. For the art, for the metal, for the words: It’s an explosive package, of use in my life anyway. For sure, a lot of people are gonna have to get their head around digging rap metal, cos that’s what this unapologetically is. We’ll see if Rich can pull that one off here in 2007.