Six years old when it finally reached America, Elohim isn't the great lost Alpha Blondy album as much as it is an exciting collection of tunes with a crummy cover and so-so production. The original Elohim cover displayed Blondy as a righteous, cross-carrying warrior, but ignore the post-concert, shoved-in-the-corner singer here and you're in for an excellent -- sometimes chilling -- set of conscious lyrics with breezy music. Breezy to a fault, actually, since Blondy's Solar System band seems flattened by the thin production most of the time. Compare the version of "Black Samourai" on the live Paris Bercy album to the one included here for proof, or consider how the wicked lyric "We take no prisoners/And we eat the wounded" sits on mannered, sterile beats. The tougher Merci from 2002 displayed that Blondy would grow as an executive producer, but Elohim is filled with prime Blondy songs, ones good enough to forgive the musical stiffness. "The Devil's Tail" is up there with his best, "Take No Prisoner" is tougher than tough, and "Black Samourai" became the man's anthem. To Shanachie's credit, Elohim is 80 percent in French and the label does an excellent job of translating the lyrics for the booklet. Elohim is hardly the first reggae album to be brought down a peg by cheap, sterile production, but it makes you pine harder than usual for what could have been.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries