Black Ice

Deliver Me

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Black Ice is a singer and DJ who came somewhat out of left field with the impressive debut, Deliver Me. Though he's not exactly a complete unknown on the international reggae scene, this album is a surprisingly mature effort for someone at such an early stage in his career. Featuring guest artists Junior P, Bumpa Green, and Rootsman (along with very fine backing vocals courtesy of La-Dee-Dread), Deliver Me nicely combines and juxtaposes elements of roots reggae, dancehall and hip hop to create a varied and satisfying blend of styles and influences. Not everything works perfectly, of course. The a cappella versions of "Jah Live" and "Enemies" feel like filler (both songs are much more enjoyable in their original versions), and the "extended version" of the title track is not very much extended, and not different enough from the original to merit a reprise. But the rootsy DJ-combination track "Works of the Almighty" is well worth hearing, as are the percolating dancehall workout "Nubian" and the slow-skanking lovers rock of "Careless Whisper." Those who are easily offended by the casual sexism that has always been endemic in reggae music will probably want to skip "Black Woman" ("Black woman, what have you been thinking?/Black man is the king of your world"). Otherwise, though, this is an album likely to please just about any fan of modern reggae.

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