Phoenix Orion & Team Eloheem MasterControl Program 3000 Presents: Secret Wars

Phoenix Orion's 1998 debut, Zimulated Experiencez, was in my top five of that year, and the release of his Secret Wars EP, earlier this year, foreshadowed a sophomore album that would top his debut. Of the 12 tracks on MP3 Presents: Secret Wars, four of them shouldn't be there: the "Future Now" intro, which fails to add the cohesion it strives for; "Memory Timelapse 001" and Memory Timelapse 002," both of which are cheesy, sci-fi, ego-stroking interludes, and the useless "Atomcandy," an even more obvious ego stroke. Of the remaining eight tracks, the four best - "Music Is," "Scifidelity," "Microphone Chakrastones" and "Man Against Machine" - were previously released as the Secret Wars EP, and the "Artificial Intelligence" instrumental collage is unnecessary. What that means for the buyer is the appearance of only three new tracks that are worthwhile. "Enter the Portal" would have been the better intro, having just two short verses - one by Orion and one by Dandelion - that set the sci-fi scene best. With "Universal Lingo," Phoenix Orion and Team Eloheem experiment with some reggae riddims and flows, the best of the new tracks for sure. Finally, the album ends with "Secret Wars," the 12-minute posse cut epic. Although the song could have been shorter, it's kept fresh with an abundance of spaced-out guests. MP3 Presents: Secret Wars, the first in what is meant to be a trilogy by Phoenix Orion, is definitely worth your time and money if you don't own the previous EP, or if you do own it but must have three more good songs from Phoenix Orion. (Atomcandy)