|Cypress Hill - Skull & Bones|
|Music Disc Reviews Audio CD|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 25 April 2000|
East Los Angeles’ Cypress Hill is back with a sound that is one part classic Cypress Hill and one part metal band. Yes you heard me correctly, there are some straight up metal songs on Cypress Hill’s fifth new studio album ‘Skull & Bones.’ Taking a cue from the recent crossover successes of artists such as Korn, Ice Cube and Limp Biskit, Cypress Hill’s new sound is going to bring their music to a whole new audience. Skull and Bones is a double set with all 11 hip hop tracks on the first CD, and six metal/rap songs on the second CD.
"Rock Superstar" and "Rap Superstar" are the first two radio singles from the album and ensure that you will hear Cypress Hill on both alternative rock radio and rap radio this summer. Essentially the same song twice, the Rock and Rap versions of "Superstar" are Cypress Hill’s warning to starry-eyed kids who are trying to get into the music industry. Featuring interview samples from Eminem and Noreaga and on "Rap Superstar" and Chino Moreno of the Deftones and Everlast on "Rock Superstar," these songs each have a hook that sticks in your head like glue and music that was inspired by the classic Led Zeppelin track "Kashmir." Few groups would attempt to simultaneously release two versions of the same song but Cypress Hill are not strangers to experimenting with new concepts. Their last studio album ‘Los Grandes Éxitos En Español’ (The Greatest Hits in Spanish), released December 7, 1999 found the group all of their hit songs and performing them completely in Spanish.
The metal portion of ‘Skull and Bones’; features guest appearances from Rage Against the Machine’s drummer Brad Wilk on the track "Can't Get The Best Of Me," and Fear Factory's Dino Cazarres and Christian Olde Wolbers on "Get Out Of My Head" just to name a few. Andy Zambrano and Jeremy Fliner from Cypress Hill member Sen Dog's funk-metal side project, SX-10 and Downset's Roy Lazano also join the band on the track "A Man."
"Skull and Bones" is a solid album with great rhymes, some memorable hooks and funny lyrics. Of course, in usual Cypress Hill fashion, there are a few songs on the album about weed. The metal songs on the album are a nice change and show that Cypress Hill refuses to stand still and rehash the same material over and over like so many bands seem content to do. The heavy music on the album is not the best rap metal you can find out there, but it is certainly loud, aggressive and will have the kids rocking this summer. The sound quality of ‘Skull and Bones’ is not outstanding but certainly adequate. This isn’t going to be a disc that you are going to wow your friends with on your high-end sound system. I have a feeling that this is the kind of album that is going to get more play in cars or at parties where sound quality won’t be the top thing on people’s minds.