Bionic Jive halts rap-metal's
By Jesse Gustin
Daily Cougar Staff
Looking back on the world of rock 'n' roll
music in the last three years or so, it can be unnerving to realize that,
as recently as 1999, Limp Bizkit was
the number-one band in the country. This
was an accomplishment for it, but an overwhelming disappointment to bands
like the Deftones or Amen,
which had chosen to unlatch their musical
styles from the frighteningly growing trends and trenches of the rap-metal
(or rap-core) scene.
From left, Chris, Ako, Larry,
Merge and Richard comprise the rap-metal band Bionic Jive.
It was as if the combination of charred,
growling guitar chords and half-witted lyrics with a clever rhyme scheme
had only recently been developed.
Also, it was as if Fred Durst had the
right to capitalize on the genre.
The truth is that oversized vehicle logos
and black leather have been combining forces since the mid-'80s. Rap music
forerunner Public Enemy
has had its share of licks up against
the axe-wielders. Then House of Pain's DJ Lethal set the pace for the world
of what was (at that time) an
underground music with the soundtrack
to the film Judgment Night, which included the pairings of such artists
as Slayer with Ice-T and Pearl Jam
with Cypress Hill.
Bionic Jive is one group which, although
sadly a bit late in the timeline of rap-metal's existence, just might have
the skills to successfully combine
an original, though updated, "rap" style
with some of the most brutal heavy metal in the scene today.
Armageddon Coming Through Your Speaker
flaunts the masculine force that propels the group's five members (from
Phoenix, Arizona) to create a
successful hybrid of good, old-fashioned,
Whereas some groups, such as Linkin Park
and P.O.D., have musical breadth that make up for their vocalists' lack
of street credibility, a feeling and
emotion emanates from Bionic Jive that
only true rap music can provide, from people who have been there and done
The crowd-fueling "Pump" careens as the
album's third track, with flows reminiscent of rappers Twista and TechN9e.
The heavy, chugging guitar riffs are placed
liberally over a slow, half-timed beat, characteristic of rap groups like
Bone Thugs N' Harmony and Do
or Die, allowing the artists to actually
flow at a faster speed. Its one-line chorus "Whatcha trippin' on?" is a
question already answered: These guys
The metal-fused and unrelenting "I Shot
Lucifer" cuts through the haze of any curiosity left in the listener with
its theme "…Christ compel me/ shock
the world with it."
Most definitely it may, pointing out the
fallacies in governmental proposals and the illusion of safety in our country.
The chord arrangement can be
viewed as comparable to the measures of
such grinding bands like Machine Head and Saliva, with the addition of
a bone-chilling female
The aim and attempt of this group becomes
clear -- to rock as hard as it can, while simply staying as hard as it
can. The band members keep it
simple, with the dual-vocal team of Merge
McVay and AKO Mack relying heavily on the depth of the rhyme -- and just
how far one can go with it
when leaning away from the money-powered
aspects of the industry.
If and when any singing is produced by
the MCs, its soul-filled crone can be equated less to a rock singer and
more to Southern playa-boy Nelly.
The musical theme is predominantly a stylish
"gangsta rap," with actual musicians performing the beats, and with some
Guitarist Larry Luv follows the lead of
the versatile rocker, using many melodic parts and ambient textures throughout
the album, while bassist
Cunni samples a number of various styles
from slap-funk to blues scaling. The supposed necessary evil of a DJ is
absent in this five-piece band,
though scratches are minimally used for
support on a few tracks, like the slamming "Swarm."
Soft guitar picking and ethereal effects
are the drive behind "Walking with Shadows," and "Goodbye," the closing
track, speaks the depth of the
hearts of these men who have come together
from different places and situations to do the same thing.
It is safe to say that they do not take
for granted their artistic integrity, as their music, though not simple,
keeps a tightly regimented schedule of rap
This is not taking their talent for granted,
however. Bionic Jive has the skills to compete with established "thug-metal"
groups, (hed) p. e. and Dial 7
being on the forefront, as both bands
incorporate a singer (MC) with an authentic and sometimes-ethnic background
that may provide more
credence to the plight and words of the
It can be hard to swallow what Durst of
Limp Bizkit says, as some believe he comes from the viewpoint of a pampered
millionaire. However, with
club-and head-banging jams like "Freaks"
or the punk-like "Break the Chains," Bionic Jive will most likely emerge
into the scene with a slightly
brighter spotlight aimed at it.