Year of the Tyrant is a new album from Denver-based artist, White Devil. It contains mostly brand new tracks, although a couple of songs appeared on the artist’s prior release, Blame it On the Goat and were moved to achieve “conceptual continuity.” It doesn’t really matter though, because as far as album’s go, Year of the Tyrant is overflowing with action and artistic originality. There’s really so much energy and variety in these recordings, which are both entertaining and wildly unpredictable. The music is satisfying as well.
White Devil claims that the title was inspired by various “tyrants” he encountered during the writing process, which included a combination of those he crossed paths with on a personal level, as well as those public tyrants associated with the year 2020 in general (which has been a rather tyrannical year by almost any metric). The opening track, BLS (It’s Gettin’ Kinda Heavy) is a rave-paced, high intensity dance jam, which reminds me a lot of the early 90s techno I listened to as a teenager. It’s really a solid, attention grabbing opener and will get the juices flowing. Other tracks like Let It Drip have more of an esoteric, collage-like feel. He does a good job of connecting various components, vocals and samples to get a sound that’s coherent and continuous. It’s like the musical version of one of those ransom letters where they piece together various letters and words to form a message. The closest artistic equivalent I can think of to this type of style is Wayne Butane. However, White Devil incorporates more hip hop flavor as well as his own actual vocals, monologues etc.
As in his previous work, Year of the Tyrant includes a hodgepodge of social commentary, and the songs themselves reference contemporary news items and subcultures. For example, he has a track called Boogaloo Boogie which is related to the “boogaloo boys” anti-government movement. The song uses snippets of such individuals explaining their ideology, with a groovy disco style jam serving as the musical backdrop (and a damn good one). The final track is Between The Lines (A Special Message from QAnon) which obviously references the popular QAnon conspiracy. 10 years from now this album will make an excellent current events time capsule for 2020, and it will still be just as enjoyable to listen to.
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