The Art of Dying

Artist: GoretexTitle: The Art of DyingRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Matt Barone

In a time of disposable albums filled with conventional methods of songwriting and all-too-familiar sounding beats, Goretex’s The Art of Dying is a rare exercise in completely unique rap music. One-third of underground revolutionaries Non Phixion (along with Ill Bill and Sabac), Goretex has always been looked to for abstract lyricism, bringing heads into his own twisted world that, after multiple listens, bears a striking resemblance to the underbelly of our own reality. As part five of longtime friend and collaborator Necro’s Psycho+Logical Records ten-album-in-one-year onslaught, The Art of Dying is a project deeply routed in the warped psychosis of this Brooklyn native, making it unlike anything else taking up residence on record store racks these days.

Solely produced by Necro, The Art of Dying’s instrumentals favor a more dusted and mental sound than Necro’s previous musical offerings, showing his growth as one of the game’s most slept-on producers. As the title track opens the disc up, its somber orchestral backdrop sets the perfect mood for Goretex to begin his thoughts. “I ask God if I’m redeemed at all, for things I’ve seen and did as a kid/ I grew up foul with bitterness from being poor,” he laments on the track, engaging in poignant self-reflection that gives way to observations of a more malicious intent for the remainder of The Art of Dying. Futuristic electric guitars power Goretex’s “Momentary Lapse of Reason,” while an alarming and slightly militant beat inspires him to predict society’s self-induced downfall on “Earth Rot,” with commentary like, “Allah told them to get us in o-ten, under the sun, nuclear holocaust, it’s the final end.”

As all quality entertainment does, The Art of Dying benefits from strong cameos. Fellow Psycho+Logical brethren Sabac and Mr. Hyde costar with Goretex for their own Twilight Zone episode on the haunting “60:00,” as machines take over civilization, backed by a melancholy blend of violins and flutes. Ill Bill appears on “The Virtual Goat,” a frantic selection highlighted by Necro’s relentlessly piercing string arrangement that unfortunately only clocks in at under two minutes, while Necro himself fires off his expected venom on “Pigmartyr.”

In the end, though, its Goretex who makes this release such an intriguing experience. Whether he’s declaring himself a “sick bastard with nurses and servants” over a minimalist piano riff on “Destined To Rep,” or putting the rich and famous on vicious blast during his “Celebrity Roast,” Goretex’s verbal approach is one all his own. “The Last 100 Days of Sodom” finds him at his sadistic best, using a chilling beat straight out of a yet-to-be made slasher movie to enter the mind of a murderer, revealing info such as, “The cannibal, never utensils, crime scene, no stencils/ Dimes get traded, degraded, smashed and brought back like rentals.”

Save for one unfortunate misfire (the overly-aggressive metal-meets-rap cut, “Blessed Are The Sick”), The Art of Dying successfully journeys into its own avant-garde realm and never turns back. Clearly putting extensive thought into this project, Goretex delivers a record that draws comparison to few before it, a truth that will most likely render it unapproachable by timid Hip-Hop supporters. With an open-mind intact, though, this album provides a darkly tinged alternative for 2004’s Hip-Hop landscape.