This review almost didn't happen. Although nothing seemed obviously wrong with the CD - the shrinkwrap was in tact and the jacket holding it unfolded - the picture accompanying this review shows what I found when I pulled out the disc. It looks like a MythBusters experiment testing whether or not shards of a broken CD could put your eye out if it spins too fast. I had much more mundane concerns - my laptop is relatively new and putting a broken disc in the drive in a hopeless attempt to import it to iTunes would either (A.) jam the gears up permanently or (B.) leave broken bits rattling around inside my computer for its entire life. I don't blame Acid Lab Records in any way - I know this got mishandled somewhere in the mail - but thankfully I didn't need to request a new copy. The entire album has been uploaded to Soundcloud.
Patrick Taylor's review of "Diversity" is what piqued my interest in Acid Reign, and that level was only heightened by the fact they chose the French duo Chrono Triggers to produce this 6 song selection. Chrono Triggers is not known for their video game remixes, nor long odes to the adventures of Marle and Lucca, but they do acknowledge their 8-bit and Super Nintendo infleunces in their electronic music style. They may sum it up best with the description "an ingenious mix of hip-hop, electro and chiptune." All of those things collide with the Acid Reign crew of Gajah, BeOND and Olmeca and result in the sonic explosion of the title track.
If Jurassic 5 had ever decided to do hits of ecstasy and make a club music album while stoned, "Synergy" would no doubt be the result. In fact every now and then I could swear one of the trio sounds just like Chali 2na, though that may just be their common Californian heritage speaking through the music. Combining their speedy lyrical delivery with the video game influenced sounds of Chrono Triggers creates mixed results that will be received very differently by different audiences. I enjoy the Ghouls 'n Ghosts/Capcom-esque sound of "Gadgets" featuring Lyricon, but it's so entrancing it almost defeats the point of having anyone rap to it. "Our Choices" swings the pendulum too far the other way - it tries to mute the gaming elements and loses its edge. "International" with Kaigen and ODT may be the best track of all, though the foreign language flows will make the narrow minded reject it.
Much like the CD itself, I'm torn when it comes to my opinion on "Synergy." Patrick referred to their "rapid-fire verses" as being "impenetrable at times" and that seems to hold true regardless of who does their production. I appreciate the avant garde experimental nature of this collaboration, but it seems incredibly niche, much like an entire album devoted to Toonami. To anybody in that niche it's incredibly appealing, to anybody outside that niche it's incomprehensible - and Chrono Triggers only make it less accessible as opposed to moreso. If I had to make a summer analogy this album is more like a Blizzard than a milkshake - it's thick and chunky and a little bit cold. It's also enjoyable - you just can't drink it down smooth. Spoon this one out carefully and pray your copy didn't go through the same blender mine did. Acid Reign smoke - don't breathe this!
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5.5 of 10
Originally posted: July 16th, 2013