Apex Zero – Reality Provoking Liberation
Trading in a decidedly old-school form of lyricism that recalls early London pioneers, Apex Zero's raw, manifesto-driven raps have a lot in common with the edgy, paranoid psy-ops chat of Triple Darkness and M9. Chaotic Revolt in particular captures the anger and violence inherent in the legacy of the 2011 London riots, and throughout, the beats draw on the rich tradition of string-led, cinematic sample-craft of RZA and his many imitators.
This is both the album's strength, and it's main weakness – a uniformity of tone, in both the raps and the production, mean it lacks dynamic range. There are some fine standout moments - the dramatic opening of Don't Follow The Image is striking; A Meeting of the Continents strips things back to raw kicks and snares and echoing piano; while Power Source (War At Night) is effortlessly dark boom-bap. Throughout, Apex Zero's lyrical content is angry, literate and intelligent, marred only by his one-note, over-stressed delivery.