Various The Northern Horde

Pooling together hip-hop talent coming straight out of neo-Berlin, aka Kitchener, ON, The Northern Horde compilation strikes a definitive blow. While the redubbing of the city name, the crew deep mentality and some of the dissonant production confirms the influence of the Wu-Tang Clan, the eclectic styles presented resist easy categorisation. The fevered lyricism of five-pronged MC collective Embassy is a prominent force, spearheading about a third of the tracks as well as guesting on other’s tracks, bringing intricate battle skills, political insight and spirituality to the table on entries like "True Soldiers” and "Lionz.” This formula is the touchstone for the crew and holds true for other contributors like Louwop, whose "Thoughts” finds him coasting comfortably atop Murr of Da Grassroots’ off-kilter beat, and Galactus, whose big brother scenario is manifested on "1984 Revisited.” Mantis, who produced that track also impresses with his MCing and jazzy production skills and boardsmen Chozen, Catalist and Jonny Riddim add to their consistently solid foundation. It’s not like the crew needed that much help, but the contributions from Kemo of the Rascalz, Montreal’s Simahlak and Y-Look just adds to the passionate hip-hop from this very promising collective. (Maccabee)