Wu-Tang Clan 8 Diagrams

8 Diagrams is Wu Tang Clan’s first release in over seven years and their first since the passing of the ODB. It’s not surprising then that the album sounds as though all remaining eight members had black armbands on when they were laying down the tracks. However dark the album may be though, the artistry of the Wu is a constant, permeating the album. Even by the RZA’s standards, the production takes a turn towards the unconventional. The majority of the tracks provide solid avenues for the Wu stable of MCs to shine and of the 14 tracks; the latter half of the album, beginning with "Wolves,” is the most impressive. "Sunlight” is delivered in slow motion by RZA alone, sharing the hypnotic flow of "Gun Will Go” and "Windmill.” "Wolves,” "Stick Me for My Riches” and "Starter” are more aggressive. The final track is a tribute to ODB entitled "Life Changes,” which contains short and sweet versus from the seven of the eight surviving Wu members, the exception being Ghostface Killah. It’s fitting that the second half of this album is the most memorable because like true showmen, Wu leave you wanting more. Regrettably, it could very well be another seven-year wait for their next return. (Universal)