by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist –
The Chimpz and Jesus have something in common: both possess the power of resurrection. Christ may have brought Lazarus—not to mention Himself—back from the grave, but with their high-velocity energy, heavy-hitting guitars, memorable rhymes, and sharp hooks, The Chimpz could singlehandedly resurrect the rap-metal genre. They are Limp Bizkit with more melody, they are Rage Against The Machine with catchier songs, they are Beastie Boys with a harder edge…and they are better than all of them. Rap-metal fans should go apeshit for these guys. Now, if you have always despised rap-rock the way a germophobe despises taking a dump in a public restroom, this may not change your perception. But for those who once enjoyed the genre but have since fled the fold, The Chimpz have got what it takes to bring you back if you’ll just give ‘em a chance.
This is not just Eminem-wannabe rap-rhymes lackadaisically juxtaposed with power chords; The Chimpz have a sincere appreciation of both the rap and metal genres and fuse them together into a cohesive whole. In the past rap and rock often occupied the same sonic space but it typically felt off kilter, an uneasy alliance, the two halves going together about as well as sauerkraut and ice cream. The Chimpz, however, pull off the difficult task of merging the two together seamlessly. They make the rap fit with the metal naturally, like bread and butter, like peanut butter and chocolate, like a condom and…well, you get the idea.
By all reports these guys put on a hellacious, hard rocking live show and you can get a feel for that kind of crowd-pleasing energy on this latest EP. The songs rocket along on the strength of stomping rhythms, slick rhymes, heavy riffs, melodic layers, and catchy hooks. It’s all played so energetically that you can easily imagine these boys bouncing all over the stage and whipping the mob into frenzy. The songs have a lot going on—rock, metal, rap, hip hop, punk—but never once sound busy or strangled beneath the weight of their own ambition. Despite some serious lyrical content that is purposeful without being preachy, the tracks are loaded with a sense of fun that is downright infectious, as if The Chimpz are throwing one hell of a party and have invited you to join the head-banging, body-shaking good times.
So, yeah, the songs are serious and yet fun; maybe we should just call them seriously fun. “Victim” kicks things off and one thing that won’t feel victimized is your ears; the track follows the classic rap-metal format with rapped verses and sung choruses, and happens to sport a nice hook as well. Unfortunately, it is followed by “Corrupt,” which is the dullest song on the EP, sounding like a stale leftover from an inferior band. But The Chimpz recover nicely with “Killing Me,” which brings a moody edginess to the proceedings and results in the most mainstream song of the album, good enough to make a dent in modern rock radio without succumbing to the corporate cookie cutter syndrome. Even better is “Mr. 44,” which was recently featured on an episode of “Sons of Anarchy.” It’s the best damn song on the EP, hitting hard and with lots of attitude. Just one spin and this track will be stuck in your head like a bullet lodged in your brain.
Listen, rap-rock may be comatose with the vultures circling, but The Chimpz have injected the genre with an invigorating sense of freshness and fun. It’s tragic that so many hard rock fans will snub their noses at these guys simply because of the rap-rock tag, but that is the risk The Chimpz are willing to take in order to be true to themselves as artists rather than follow the latest fad or flavor of the week. Bottom line, if you’re looking for some top tier rap-metal, you can trust The Chimpz.
Genre: Rock, Rap
Artimus Prime (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)
Chuck P (MC)
Scary Cary (lead guitar)
Sean Topham (drums)
3. Killing Me
4. Who Can I Trust
5. Mr. 44
Hardrock Haven rating: 7.3/10