by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —
The Chimpz swing back onto the scene with a raucous new EP and rap-rock fans should be happier than a kid getting a barrel full of dancing monkeys for Christmas. One of the tracks (“Right to Left”) has already been featured on the record-breaking final season of the hit show Sons of Anarchy … and it’s not even close to the best song on the EP.
As before, the band balances seriousness with enjoyment. They have something to say, but they want to ensure you have fun while listening to their message. Their utter lack of pretension is refreshing, yet the drive to entertain never plummets to the moronic depths of something like Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie.”
Speaking of Limp Dickzit—er, Bizkit … it’s lazily easy to lump The Chimpz in with the likes of Fred Durst and company, but truth is, The Chimpz are by far the superior band. Their singing, their rapping, their hooks, their songs … it’s all better than Limp Bizkit, Beastie Boys, Hollywood Undead, or any of the other rap-metal mavericks scratching around out there. In this hybrid rock ‘n’ roll subgenre, it rarely gets much better than this.
Best of all, their metal chops are just as impressive as their rap skills. Too often groups that mix rap and metal get the rap part right but the metal elements sound more like an afterthought. The Chimpz, however, actually sound like accomplished metal musicians who could bang out a pretty solid heavy metal album if they ever chose to play it straight and get rid of the rap.
This latest EP is produced by Ryan Greene (Megadeth) and he engineers everything with the appropriate amount of crunch. This is probably the heaviest The Chimpz have ever sounded, rocking your cochlea with raging rhythms and adrenalized grooves while never forgetting the importance of a good hook.
The opening anthem, “War Machine,” perfectly encapsulates the band’s signature style. It’s forged from a hard-hitting metal aesthetic slathered with thick power chords that form the foundation upon which the rap vocals are overlaid before topping the whole sonic concoction off with a clenched fist chorus. Even more metallic is “Battlegrounds,” the biggest bruiser on the EP, brimming with muscular riffs and a soundscape that is all beef, balls and brawn. Lyrics like “Is that all you got / Step up to the plate / I can’t be beat / You only get one shot,” ensure this song will accompany an NFL highlight reel in the near future.
If the rap-metal revolution was just kicking off, The Chimpz would be leading the charge. But even now, long after the genre’s freshness date has expired, The Chimpz bring the goods with enough force to make some noise. These SoCal rap-metal rebels are rockin’ the party … and that means the party is not to be missed. Crank up the stereo, crack open a cold one, and let The Chimpz get you jumping around like a gorilla jacked up on amphetamines.
Genre: Rap Metal
Artimus Prime (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)
Chuck P (MC, vocals)
Scary Cary (lead guitar)
Shawn “Sonic” Lyon (bass)
Sean Topham (drums)
1. War Machine
3. Right to Left
4. In a Box
5. Save Our City
Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10