The Dark Monk True Underlord

A student of DOOM's Metal Face Akademy, the Dark Monk hands in his term project, better known as his debut album, True Underlord, on which he and his classmates attempt to get all X-Men on the Evil Global Leader and his army of cyborgs, but end up spending more time getting high and rapping about themselves. Like DOOM, they wear metal masks and rhyme with a laidback, relaxed style, although without their sensei's charismatic, intoxicated delivery. Opening with "Indo," True Underlord warns against the police state that the U.S. is moving towards post-911, following with "Real Terror," which mixes metaphors about terrorist-like attacks with rap braggadocio. Jake One's beat and the Dark Monk's deep-voiced flow early in the song bring to mind X-Clan at their finest. Classmate Mobonix guests on this track and appears repeatedly throughout. On "Sinista," the two do their best DOOM impression over a classic MF production, while the Dark Monk loosens up his flow for the reggae-lite "Text Off Da Celly" and hyphy weed ode "Reggie Milla." A few beats deserve mention on their own merits, including CX Kidtronik's mix of drums and violin, for the minimal, abrasive "Shrapnel," Madlib's frantic, lo-fi "Smash-N-Grab" and DOOM's almost irritating use of a hyena's laugh for latest single "Hyena!" The interludes and "Outdo" are unnecessary, and the album could have used a good once over before it was submitted ― the track listing on the back of the album is missing some songs and is out of order (but somehow they got it right on the inside of the cover), while "Smash-N-Grab" ends mid-sentence. But if you like your music lo-fi, you're bound to find True Underlord an interesting and enjoyable listen. (XIL/Metalface)