Given the design of the logo on the cover, the artwork itself and even the name Rexide, I was half-expecting to be greeted by a screamo vocal roar and the grunt and grind of a thrash metal tsunami in full flow. And, although there are a few moments when the vocals spill over into that darker and more diabolical vibe, it is to hip-hop and rap, electronica and alternative urban R&B that Rexide looks for his inspirations.
The great thing about the music that Rexide makes is although it certainly leans into those urban vibes, he is an artist fully invested in the concept of the post-genre world, happy to rip up even those adventurous templates that hip-hop was built on, mix and match sounds, cross-pollinate styles and push generic boundaries in all directions.
The opening salvo, Year 1401, wanders some bold and brooding hip-hop pathways, the beats are spacious, concerned with creating structure rather than groove, beguiling electronica fills in the middle ground but, as always with music coming from such a background, it is the lyrics that are the focal point. And here, Rexide also breaks with the traditions of fast and furious wordplay, preferring to play a less-is-more card, saying only what needs to be said and making each word count.
The punningly titled Trash Bandicoot is where things start mixing up. A hip-hop groove that wanders from fast lyrical flows and pulsing bass beats into a sort of thrash-rap, scream-hop blast before heading back into a more conventional territory. Davy Jones Pirate Boy maintains the rap-battle vibe that the genre was born out of, a side-swipe at the competition, a chance to lay out his own musical manifesto, a rallying cry and fist in the air and CoffinMyLungsUp,(geddit?) is a relentless rollercoaster of lyrical dexterity and sonic fist fighting, mixing humour and defiance, wordplay and bravado, bombast and eloquence.
People often think that the world moves forward through acts of revolution but that is not always the case. It is often through evolution that ideas and creativity move onward into the future that it needs to build for itself. It is the small steps, the gradual changes, the small innovations and the smart choices made on a day-to-day basis that form the shape, and indeed sound, of the future. Mid-Evil is the sound of smart musical choices being made, the sound of someone who knows where they come from, musically speaking, but much more importantly, know where they are going and which generic scenic routes are going to embolden the experience.
It is the gentle collisions of genres, finding the sweet spot between sounds, the harmonious balance of styles that creates music with real longevity. And I suspect people will be listening to Rexide a long time after all his fellow music makers, the ones who rely on cheap gimmicks, or who prefer to merely follow current fad or fashion, have long been assigned to the musical landfill of history.