Hostyle Gospel, Immortal Combat
Champaign, Illinois’ Hostyle Gospel have been around in some shape or form since 2003 starting out as a group called Elite M.O.C. (Men of Christ) before some of the founders were called to different ministries. Gospel MCs Proverb (Raynard Glass), King Soloman (Demetrius Morton) continued to rock their chosen paths before refining their line-up with Big Job (Fontaine Pizza) in 2005. Known for their visceral live shows that include original songs and lyrical re-mixes of Top 20 hits, the band has just released their sophomore album, Immortal Combat.
Opening with the fumbling military grind, “Welcome to the Show” the listener is assaulted with under-produced keys, embarrassing screeching vocals that welcome you to the show – then they proceed to tell you over and over again for 5 minutes that, “This is not a show”. There are other moments like these that just don’t work, including the throwaway wanna-be epic “Warzone” and the over-bearing “Get Yo’ Bible Out!”
Thankfully, at 21 tracks, these moments are scarce. After the weak opener, Hostyle comes back with “Thanks 4 Comin’ Out” a percussive blast, infused with jazzy good times; while “Move” is another genre-bending groove with hard-edged bass riffs. However, my favourite pieces on Immortal Combat are each MC’s “Letter” that really show-off their individual flow and lyrical flair under brilliant underscored beats.
Obviously, Hostyle Gospel’s purpose is to spread the word of The Lord so those who are non-believers probably won’t dig the lyrical content. Although, what Immortal Combat does succeed in, is capturing the everyday life of a spiritual being through the good and bad times. It is also nice that in a sea of “I want to thank God” speeches at popular award ceremonies – you actually believe that these guys are living the life and preaching the word. (Hostyle Gospel Ministries)
Rating: 3/5 Stars