Romancing the elements of nature, the witching-hour lyricism of the Swollen Members (Madchild and Previal) delves deeply into topics that have yet to be captured or pontificated on wax. SM are shaman-like oddities in this game, and judging from their topic matter alone, they would seem to fit in more at a Renaissance festival than in hip-hop's machismo-filled atmosphere. Prevail and Madchild divulge their cloak-and-dagger lyrics in a highly animated manner, and their chemistry is very developed for a group embarking on their freshman effort. Western guitar riffs and staccato high hats augment the duo's mental gymnastics on "Out of Range," and the Alchemist leads a one-man symphony on the possessed "Horrified Nights." Swollen Members enlist a stellar supporting cast throughout, with Dilated Peoples ("Counterparts"), Evidence ("Bottle Rocket"), Everlast, Divine Styler, and Del's Hieroglyphics ambiance, prevalent on "Left Field" with Unicorn. The witchdoctors of hip-hop are definitely at the forefront of developing a new style, and after listening to the Swollen Member's debut, your view of hip-hop may never be the same.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Conaway