By Taylor McAnally
Penetrating Gaze by the gospel Review
The first impression is one that is often overlooked by musical artists nowadays. Each track is processed individually, and for a lot of folks the concept of a cohesive album is lost. Wisconsin Hip Hop act the gospel does not have this problem. From the very first seconds of Penetrating Gaze, it is made extremely clear that this album will be one of tension and aggression. The rest of the album’s tracks follow suit, maintaining the high energy levels set forth by the opening tracks.
Produced by noise-rap empresarios Moodie Black, the sounds put forth on this album are those of both present and past. Nods and homages to the street-level grittiness of late-80’s east coast abound, actual record cuts and scratches appear and are used to great effect. Taking it in as a whole, this album would be very comfortable in the CD collection of any B-Boy back in them days. Emcee Lodoublet definitely exudes early Kid Rock levels of energy, though his rhyming is slipshod on a few tracks, that doesn’t stop his enthusiasm from coming through quite clearly.
Personally, this reviewer has a lot of respect for any artist who truly leans into their own sound, without compromise or integration of modern elements in an effort to not make the listener comfortable, but to challenge them. These cats are definitely firm and secure in themselves and their musical direction. In this current climate it can be really difficult to attract listeners to any act they aren’t familiar with. I definitely feel that things like the fuzzed-out vocals on ‘unity (operation ivy)’, which evoke Check Your Head-era Beasties as well as the noisier sections of grunge and alt-rock records from the 90’s, as well as the sample use on the following track ‘lets get invisable’ will bring lovers of those now-classic sound environments to the gospel in due time.
This is a good album, though not transcendent. Not every album has to boil and boggle the mind. Sometimes the listener just wants something ballsy to headbang to while they’re doing the dishes. Sometimes they just want to be sonically engaged while doing paperwork. Penetrating Gaze is a great choice if you’re into aggressive energy in your raps, a collection of interesting sounds, and a pastiche of 80’s-90’s era sounds.
Standout tracks: “speed queen laundromat” “vampire glory hole ft. derill pounds”