Clawfinger

Deaf Dumb Blind

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Sounding something like a pale, staccato Big Daddy Kane rapping over mechanical metal guitar marches, vocalist Zak Tell and Clawfinger mix in a little '80s hip-hop with their The Real Thing-era Faith No More aesthetic on this 1993 debut. Tell, Jocke Skog (keyboards, drum programming), Erlend Ottem (guitars), and Bård Torstensen (guitars) made quite a splash in Europe with this, their best-selling release, winning numerous awards including two Swedish Grammys. More industrial than late-'90s American hard-hop giants Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit, by comparison Clawfinger are uptight and repetitive in their delivery. Lyrically, Tell treads the familiar ground of unnecessarily vulgar, monolithic verbiage that comes off as pedestrian at best and painfully corny when the Swede's sexually violent English imagery is at its worst. Clawfinger are hardly unique with regard to their silly nu metal lyrics, and the band's musically impressive songwriting -- most evident during the choruses of standout tracks "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "Sad to See Your Sorrow" -- generally makes up for the second-language blundering. Lacking the innovation of this debut, subsequent releases achieved comparatively little commercial and critical success, leaving Deaf Dumb Blind as the first, and perhaps the only, Clawfinger disc needed to round out any old-school rap-metal collection.

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