4th Degree Burn

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In 1999 Philippine rap-metal band Slapshock released its debut album, 4th Degree. The music is rough and blistering, patterned after the sound of such American bands as Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Rage Against the Machine. Slapshock moves with razor-sharp precision, and the music is tight and taut. The hard-edged guitar plays a major role, working in harsh, dynamic synergy with the growling vocals. Pungent guitar riffs are heard throughout the album, often with a Led Zeppelin- or Black Sabbath-like ambience. The barrage of menacing sound could potentially become monotonous, but the songs retain a high degree of individuality. The imaginative guitar riffs have a lot to do with this, as do the opportune tempo and style changes. "High Times" works off an intense, Zeppelin-like riff, which cuts a path for the vocalist's searing rap. The song also features an abrupt, on-a-dime tempo change, as the guitar intensity lessens and an appealing bassline enters the scene. "Shelter" features funky guitar and soulful singing over a syncopated backbeat, while "Sick Curtain" has jagged, rough-hewn guitar lines working in dissonant synergy with the snarling vocals. 4th Degree has international potential, though the world may not need another rap-metal band.

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