Slave Master

Under the 6

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Though Under the 6 features P-Funk alumni Michael Hampton and Gary "Mudbone" Cooper, it is really the brainchild of frontman Islam Shabazz and guitarist Bill McKinney. Hampton gets to play his trademark fiery guitar solos, especially on "Down" and "Freedom," and Cooper's trademark background vocals are in evidence, but this recording is still only tangentially related to P-Funk. Mostly, it's an odd, intriguing, mixture of pounding thrash metal and Nation of Islam rhetoric (there are even snippets of speeches by NOI founder Elijah Muhammad). At times, such as on "Freedom" and "Godless," it can be riveting. Unfortunately, it can also get monotonous, especially since there is very little variation in the tracks. All are basic thrash metal rockers, devoid of keyboards or any other instrumentation, and none of the compositions are particularly complex. It seems especially strange that this album should lack much in the way of textures, since producer Bill Laswell is famous for interspersing unusual ideas and sounds into albums he usually produces. Ultimately, On the 6 will most likely interest fans of adventurous speed metal (such as Megadeth), but fans expecting more P-Funk-like fare will be disappointed.

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