This is the 18th EP from Louisville, Kentucky emcee & Mobstyle Music founder Bukshot. From his lengthy solo discography to the group & duos that’s formed with some of the biggest names that the underground has to offer, there’s no question that dude’s been putting it down for the culture for a grip at this point. He just dropped the ferocious Never Safe last spring prior to his appearances at Astronomicon around that same time & is now seeing fit to put When Hell Freezes up on DSPs in light of Friday the 13th.
After the “Kafkaesque” intro, the title track truly opens up the EP with a cinematically haunting instrumental courtesy of 7 airing out those who want him out of the game prior to the almighty Alla Xul Elu & Lo Key tagging along for the apocalyptic trap banger “Rise Up” talking about running this shit from underneath. Stevie Stone comes into the picture for the cavernous “We Was” looks back to the days on the block while the song “Chant” with the Super Famous Fun Time Guys sees the trio over some kicks & snares talking about having these ways of crushing their dreams. The penultimate track “Death Dance” with the Lune Squad has a more morbid trap flare to it confessing they see their skeletons dancing & the Godsynth-produced “Beat ‘Em Up” ends with The Underground Avengers reuniting alongside Zitro for a fight anthem.
Mobstyle have been rightfully experiencing a rise in popularity within the underground wicked shit scene within the last 3 years & if this is how Buk’s gonna ring in 2023, then it only increases my anticipation for what Mobstyle has coming down the pipe such as Cabal’s sophomore album The Bottomless Pit & of course The Horde’s eponymous debut. The production’s knocking, nearly every feature comes correct & Buk sounds as ruthless as before.
The Berzerkers are a newly formed underground duo consisting Louisville veteran Bukshot & Gilroy’s very own Mr. Grey. First time they worked with each other was a decade ago when Buk hopped on “Ruthless” off of Grey’s solo debut Remain Raw alongside the latter’s former Gorilla Voltage cohort ClockworC as well as Insane Loc. They’re also 2/3 of the trio Cabal with Lo Key, whose well received full-length debut The Watchers just celebrated it’s 1-year anniversary recently & The Berzerkers are properly introducing themselves in the form of a debut EP.
After the “Solomon Says” intro, “Death Circus” is a cavernous opener daring listeners to step inside whereas “Oxygen Thieves” morbidly talks about those not deserving to breathe the same air as them. “Dark Path” has a more futuristic sound to it confessing that the road they’re traveling is deep underground while the track “Bottomless” by Cabal is a deranged prelude to the trio’s sophomore effort The Bottomless Pit coming next summer. The penultimate song “Red Team” returns to a more daunting route talking about how no one can fuck with them & prior to the “Upon Activation” outro, “Bullet Catcher” ends the EP with a petrifying trap banger getting murderous lyrically.
My expectations for this were very high considering how much I enjoyed Operation: Delirium & even though you can’t go wrong with either one, I’d have to say The Berzerkers a tad bit more. Buk & Grey ping off each other very well lyrically with 7 going for a more rawer sound in comparison to the range of sounds he displayed on Grey’s latest EP.
Cabal is a newly formed supergroup consisting of Bukshot, Lo Key & Mr. Grey. Up to this point each of the members have worked with one another, but we haven’t heard them all together at once. Bukshot just dropped Double Dragon’s self-titled debut with Kung Fu Vampire back in February & just about a month ago, Lo Key put out a his Metanoia EP paying homage to nu metal. I also loved Gorilla Voltage’s 2 albums through Majik Ninja Entertainment (especially Gods & Claws), so I’m very excited to see what they trio are gonna pull off on this debut album of theirs. Especially since they got 7 behind the boards for the whole thing.
After the “Monolith of Xaos” intro, the first song “Horn of Hades” is a heinous look at the trio having crazy thoughts as of late whereas “Shadow People” goes into a trap direction talking about being stuck in a familiar place. The title track works in some haunting synth melodies saying they don’t like what they see & after the “Dark Assembly” skit, the trio come back to in action to proclaim themselves as “Death Merchants”. Meanwhile on “The Spawning”, we get a dastardly depiction of Cabal being Hellspawn just before taking listeners through their inner turmoils on the petrifying “Madness in Me”.
I think “Devil Inside” has the best hook on the entire album as the trio speak on something in them wandering the darkness spiritually & after the “Offering of Souls” skit, the song “Don’t Go in the Basement” works in some organ & synth melodies to paint a picture of Hell. The penultimate track “Maelstrom” with the Super Famous Fun Guys & the Venomous 5 finds the 10 emcees aggressively proclaiming themselves as the wickedest creatures, but then “Phanchasm” ends the album by talking about learning things you should never learn.
If you loved Double Dragon’s self-titled debut that dropped at the beginning of 2021, then you might enjoy The Watchers just as much it not more. All 3 of the members have great chemistry with one another & 7 just knocks it out of the park in terms of the overall sound of it.