Reviewed by Brett Milner
Can't make up my mind about this one. The boldly-titled ETW (End Time Warriors) set out to do for the gospel what Public Enemy and NWA have done for black militancy. The album kicks off with a faintly embarrassing reading of Ephesians 6:10-13 over 'atmospheric' music. To say this crew are into spiritual warfare would be like saying that Margaret Thatcher is a Conservative. "We Are Warriors" is a song about stomping on the Devil's head. "Satan, You're Cancelled" speaks for itself. The track "ETW" tells us how the Holy Ghost has sent the band to "cut the Devil limb from limb". "Shakin' Up The Joint" is a rumination on the same theme. All of which is great, up to a point. They are clever rappers, they believe the message and I believe it too. But there is a limit to the number of times you can make the same point without irritating people. There's also a thin line between being aware of the spiritual fight and making it sound like 'Defenders of The Universe Kick The Devil's Ass', the only slow tracks are the highly forgettable "I Want You Back In My Life", and the superb, low-key finisher "I Gotta Get Out". On the latter they show glimpses of emotional depth, but the rest of the time ETW are so self-consciously righteous it scares me. Musically, they've got what it takes, a strong ear for a melody and an extremely funky groove. They are surprisingly accessible. Tracks like the guitar-driven "We Are Warriors" and the choppy "Satan, You're Cancelled", have the offbeat way with rhythm and arrangement that make Cameo so good. "Fun 4 A Minute" and "Let Love Live" could have come of the new Quincy Jones album. Samples, tripping little bass lines and snarling guitar pop their heads out of the rich production at the most unexpected times. The rapping itself is always tight, often funny, sometimes surprising. ETW believe they're on a mission to open this generation's eyes to the realities of heaven and hell, Jesus and Satan and the end time. This is not so much a record, more an aural thump on the head with a weighty Bible. But it's so funky that the mind switches off and feet do the moving. Whether that's a shame or a saving grace. I'll leave you to decide.
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