Released in 2002, "Babylon" was the debut album from the Welsh 'Ragga Metal' band which as their coined term suggests, has them bringing together what is essentially Nu-Metal, but twisting the Hip Hop elements to fit more in-line with Dancehall and Ragga-styled toasting. The band consists of former members of Dub War, really the first act performing in such a style with such a large range of musical influences.
1. "Set It Off"
They kick things off with a straight killer jam where they throw down a hardcore mix of what they are most well-known for with a track that supports all their styles extremely well and with a raw, and explosive burst of energy that includes all that's already been mentioned, in addition to a little Drum and Bass in order to support the Ragga end of things and to show how gat they wish to take it as they come through with such innovative material.
2. "Kiss And Make Up"
It appears that they don't wish to calm things down just yet as after blasting through with a highly-intense jam, they continue it all in this one by coming out with a track that I felt was needed in order to show that they are down for some more straight-forward Metal material, and with Nu-Metal still in its popular years at the time, it becomes apparent that these influences come through directly with this track.
This one opens up to some Reggae dubs to show that their not just attracted to the more hardcore end of what the Jamaican music scene has to offer. Following this we have them advancing it a little in order to bring all that together with some of the raw Metal style that the majority of their core fan base is likely to find the majority of their appeal in. For me it was a bit plain, but I can see why it may be liked.
With this one you get a track that uses lots of spacey synth in the background to guide it through, and I felt that this was nice to have here to hold together the Nu-Metal end of the music and make the most of the freedom that it allowed for. However, I wouldn't say that this is really too strong a track and it isn't until a late breakdown where it gets interesting and so with it structured quite poorly, I felt that I was pushed out too early.
Taking things right back to where the album began, I saw this one as a strong banger of a joint and one that I felt stood out as one of the best on the record with them making such an effort to try and do their best at pulling through with the Ragga material by having Benji Webbe (their lead singer) come out with more toasting using traditional melodies and bringing in relevant lyrics to suit it all.
The titular track on the album is another that brings in lyrics that you would expect to have received on tracks from a Dancehall or Ragga act (but obviously delivered in a style that makes it much more accessible to Metal heads. Here you get a clear Nu-Metal styled production set with lots of Hip Hop brought in to add to the diversity of the record (up to this point on the thing) and to drag in a few more listeners.
7. "The Fear"
We get a smooth composition brought through with this one and a track that I felt contrasted from a lot of the kind of thing heard elsewhere on the record as you get a tune that has them opting for a tune that has them going for one that addresses some more serious issues. However I have to say that I really didn't enjoy it at all and I felt that it seemed completely out-of-context when compared to others here.
This is a track on the release that is there to once again give them a chance to burst out with general material that brings together the various things that have led to such an original sound that takes on from the work of Bad Brains. I felt that it was an improvement to things, when you consider where it was just prior to this point as it gets them right back on track with what you would want to get from them.
I felt that this was a nice track on the album as it is one that appears to give them a chance to just let loose with some very general material and nothing too intense to give you a chance to take a bit of a breather with something rather passive and something that doesn't require you to go to that much effort to engage with it. However, it could be said to take on the characteristics of filler within the record and does come across as rather average.
10. "World Domination"
The album ends on this one and I felt that it was a great way to close it off as I felt as though we were able to get things being brought back to the sort of place that we were at with the most powerful and explosive tracks through the album. I felt that it did a lot for the thing as it is able to leave it all on a high after some time pulling it all down with material that I felt didn't have much lot to offer.
Acting as a sort of mash-up Bad Brains and Disturbed work, I felt that this was a pretty nice debut from the act. It has to be said that they really weren't too consistent with it at all and if they had stuck to any one direction then I can see where there could have been issues making it all work effectively. It is decent, but nothing too special.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Set It Off
2 Kiss And Make Up
7 The Fear
10 World Domination