Review by Jeff Maki
Recommended if you like:
“Judgment Night,” ’90s hip-hop, Wu-Tang Clan, Onyx, House of Pain, nu-metal, Hollywood Undead, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, hardcore, Biohazard, Madball, playing video games, Japanese culture, Samurai, having fun
If the name Rise of the NorthStar looks familiar, it’s because I featured its track “Here Comes the Boom” as one of my “picks” earlier in the year (something I’m revising to relaunch eventually). On its sophomore album, the Tokyo, Japan, unit tells the story of the Samurai “Shi” on select tracks on “The Legacy of Shi.” But all around and in between, the group slams, shreds, bounces, raps, screams and shouts. And if you’re a fan of anything I mentioned above, yearning for the music scene undisturbed and intact as it was 20 years ago, this album will be your delight.
This is a wild bunch with in-your-face Onyx rhymes with the flavor of the Wu, and the attitude and metallic chops of NYC hardcore. If I had to pick any favorite songs here, I’d go with “Nekketsu” as a definite number one; this track sounds like it could have been straight out of “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,” a culmination of ’90s rap-rock, with a Slipknot part that kicks in around the two-minute mark. I feel like I’m on the half-pipe all over again, frantically hitting every button desperately trying to land something when this plays.
The current single is the band’s anthem, “This is Crossover,” and it’s one of the heavier ones here.
It is perhaps important to note “The Legacy of Shi” was co-produced by Gojira’s Joe Duplantier in his Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Silver Cord Studio. This is evident in the razor-sharp riffs and a mechanized instrumental attack. Nice job, Joe.
This is a colorful album that has me reminiscing. In the ’90s, all bets were off; music was practically out of left field with the experimentation and molding of genres. Though we are seeing a mild resurgence, music is much more pigeonholed two decades later. It’s a lot safer. So this is a nice throwback to a time when our pants were baggy and everything from our clothing to our music was much looser.
Rise of the NorthStar certainly “Demonstrate Their Style” on “The Legacy of Shi,” and no, they “Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit” either.
OK, I think you get it. I’m off to dust off my PlayStation so I can play “Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style.” I may call up some peeps for four-player mode.
October 19, 2018, Sharptone Records