Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-08-20

Cannibal Ox's Vast Aire Kramer and Vordul Megala Shamar have struck a cold vein in hip-hop and come up with digital gold. Digging for dignity in an iron galaxy, to raise human tragedy beyond the small black print of the crime pages, these rap Vikings write rhymes in the blood of the slain, spit-sacred thought in the service of salvation. With production by Company Flow's El-P (who also appears on the group's ghetto-vaudeville theme tune "Ox out the Cage" and the industry-sniping "Ridiculoid"), the backdrop to their rap reality-myth is a drone-heavy matrix of gritty, atomised funk and reconstructed beats. Alaska and Cryptic of Atoms Family (the larger group to whom Can Ox pledge allegiance) guest on "Atom", colliding with their compadres like charged molecules. While on "A B-Boy's Alpha" Vast and Vordul present a rugged primer to the strife life. Powered by a paralysing banshee-wail, "Raspberry Fields" douses the Beatles with brown acid and dumps them on the baddest corner on the block for a battle to the death with the flesh-eating MCs. Closer "Pigeon" unlocks the rock box, pitching bowed electric guitar with redemptive organ chords, while Vast takes flight with words that lick the air with violence and Vordul spreads melanin wings to shield his fellow warriors from horror. No bad blood here, just cold veins locked in pitched battle to rend the world from the grip of iron, and release its populous like ions. --Chris Campion

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