Return Of Da' Dragon

Rhythm Trip

Digital Dimension Entertainment, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


These days, it seems like everyone wants to be Rage Against The Machine. They might not have the strong political messages like Zack De La Rocha writes, but many bands are striving to mix the worlds of metal and hip-hop together into one happy family. (I wonder if anyone would have tried this had the collaboration between Anthrax and Public Enemy been a failure.)

For the group Rhythm Trip, such a merging of styles is completely natural, and their latest album, Return Of Da' Dragon, is all the evidence you need. Although the language gets a little strong at times and the reliance on guest rappers is way overdone, the final project is a surprisingly fun album to listen to, and may just lock you into a groove that's hard to break out of.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This New Jersey-based sextet (which was co-founded by former M.O.D. guitarist Tim "T" McMurtrie) works in original music with only the slightest reliance on samples (most of which are for vocal pieces only) - a refreshing change of pace in the rap/hip-hop world. Where the band's strength lies is in creating a song that is not only lyrically solid, but has a strong musical foundation as well. Tracks like "Illznik," "Warpath" and "Da Good Life" all impress on many levels, occasionally working in touches of funk as well.

While it's hard to tell when the guest vocalists come into the mix (especially if you're not looking at the liner notes), I still found myself wishing that only the band, with maybe the occasional female vocal on choruses, had led the lyrical charge on Return Of Da' Dragon. This is something that bugs me on almost every single album in this genre that I listen to, possibly meaning that I should just get used to it.

While I am no prude when it comes to language, I do have to wonder if the constant use of profanities on Return Of Da' Dragon was absolutely necessary. Had it only been a few instances, I wouldn't have given it a second thought; the problem was, there were a few times I almost thought I was listening to gangsta rap the way the words flowed. Rhythm Trip is a killer musical unit with excellent songwriting and lyric writing skils; reliance on the obscenities is too easy.

All of this said, good luck trying to control yourself on tracks like "Goddess," "Boogie Da Bang Bang" and the title cut; all of these are evidence that Rhythm Trip has the skills to become a big player in the field (especially with the continued wait for the next Rage Against The Machine album; a few more albums like Rhythm Trip's, and we might not notice the new RATM when it does come out.)

Return Of Da' Dragon is a wonderful mixture of hip-hop culture with the power of metal and funk - though it's not an album for the kiddies.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Digital Dimension Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.