This is the 5th full-length album from East Coast supergroup CZARFACE. Consisting of Inspectah Deck of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan as well as 7L & Esoteric of the Army of the Pharaohs, first formed like Voltron in 1999 with Speaking Real Words” but decided to form the supergroup after making “12th Chamber” off the final 7L & Eso album to date 1212 in 2010. Their 2013 self-titled debut along with their 2015 sophomore effort Every Hero Needs a Villain would both become modern underground classics in my opinion. A Fistful of Peril the following year was originally supposed to be the quartet’s final album & I thought that was a great way for them to go out, but they did pleasantly surprise me when they dropped their collab albums CZARFACE Meets Metal Face with the late MF DOOM in 2018 & then CZARFACE Meets Ghostface Killah with his DOOMSTARKS partner in rhyme Ghostface Killah the year after that. The Odd Czar Against Us would come out 9 months later & that felt more like a split EP between CZARFACE and 7L & Eso given that both have 6 songs each. Last we heard from them was last spring when they dropped their 2nd collab album with DOOM called Super What? & now given that Record Store Day was last weekend, the supergroup’s getting back together for Czarmageddon!.
“Damien Dinner Time” is a boom bap opener produced by none other than The Czar-Keys finding Esoteric & Inspectah Deck spitting lethal battle raps like “You ain’t a Coachella, you flying coach with Ella & that local dope seller” and “I hit ‘em like lead to the chest, I wanna see hands to the forehead when my presence is blessed” whereas “The Czarlaac Pit” has a more Middle Eastern influence to the production talking about how you can’t stop their shine. “Can It Be?” works in some uplifting synthesizers coming through with some passionate verses, but then the synths that “Walk Thru Walls” bring to the table are more sinister accompanied by some dusty drums raising glasses to .
Meanwhile on “Splash Page”, we have CZARFACE over some heavy drums talking about being focused on the green leading into “Bob LaCzar” takes a more lo-fi route in terms of sound flexing their skills. Lion Eye tags along for the rap rock-tinged “Big ‘Em Up” challenging anyone to step up to them just before “Nu Muntantes” has a more cavernous tone to it comparing themselves to that of mutants & the hook is super awkward.
The song “Fearless & Inventive” by 7L & Esoteric and Kool Keith finds the trio over some more rock production talking about being bounty hunters & after the “Boogie DefMix” interlude, the penultimate track “Czarv Wolfman” is a fresh 2-parter in the vein of “I’m the Man” by Gang Starr as well as Jeru the Damaja & Lil Dap. “Logan-5” ends the album with an emotional 7L & Esoteric cut paying tribute to his dog Logan, who passed away a little over 2 years ago at this point.
I’ve been a fan of CZARFACE since the first album came out during my sophomore year of high school & I have to admit that this is the Fistful of Peril follow-up that I wanted The Odd Czar Against Us. The production from The Czar-Keys is pretty much a melting pot of all the sounds they’ve experimented with in the past & I’m happy to hear Deck on more than half of it destroying mics with Eso like they do best.