The LA electronic beat maker Tobacco has teamed up with Zackey Force Funk to make the tight outlandish sounds of Demon Queen. For anyone not familiar with Tobacco’s previous work, the creative sounds he laces into neo-industrial beat driven tracks seem to pull you in multiple directions at the same time, which can be a mind warping experience. Meanwhile, and unlike really any other rapper, Zackey Force Funk relies on his ability to croon, opting for a falsetto and soft-spoken delivery where other rappers typically boast with bravado. Tobacco is known for his work with Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a sort of obsession with analog electronic insturments, such as the vocoder and the Rhodes keyboard. He has also had a productive career as a solo act, releasing two full length albums and three EP’s in less than four years. With both his solo efforts and Demon Queen, he has notably taken a more experimental and slightly more adventurous approach to his music.
Dropping Demon Queen into your player starts off as a bold move on its own. At the first notion of effected vocals which lead us into the galactically heavy, 80’s style synthesizers of “Lamborghini Meltdown,” the adventure is already well underway. The sound is so fresh and futuristic, and crafted with such precision, it becomes infectious. Tobacco’s backing vocals in “Vodka” sounds like robotic, a theme in his solo work as well. Deep sub-synth bass ripple along the low end and Zackey Force Funk’s high pitched croons echo’s bounce along the track. Chuck Steak’s slow rapping guest spot on this track brings a nice new flavor to the mix.
The demonic party continues with hot and ominous bangers like “El Camino 2” and “Swoll Tongue.” The latter of the two featuring an onslaught of high end electronic madness. The breakdown regresses to vocals, keys and an obviously audible click track. Tobacco’s seems to be toying with the ideas, and the winning ones stick, a boldly creative approach not nearly prevalent enough in today’s music. The composition on “Swoll” proves to be very well rounded, with the melodic chorus likened to a valley between the synthetic mountains.
N8 No Face boasts “ten thousand push up’s before my breakfast-es” on the opening the “Demon Practice.” This two minute blast is in your face with no apologies. Playing the Demon Queen hype man, N8 No Face proves to pump up the distorted demonic beats to their fullest potential. “Love Hour Zero” is an excellent break from the madness. A ballad, really, the tune shows the versatility of the group. Effected acoustic guitar twangs over the pumping “80’s exercise tape” beat. The lead is reminiscent of a classic TV show introduction, in the best way possible.
The album’s first “single” is “Rude Boy,” a dynamic story about a dude shooting his gun off in the middle of a ripping party. Interlacing creative sounds own this beat, with an echoing lead creating waves over multiple effected keyboard riffs. N8 No Face comes in to explain the details with clarity. “Bad Route” has no guest spot which means Zackey Force Funk and Tobacco take turns telling the story; Zackey with light and extremely tasteful crooning, and Tobacco with his robot voice , use of samples, and tight, infectious synth leads. “Despise the Lie” is an awesome blast to wrap up the album, rounding out the cast of characters with an excellent guest spot from Isaiah Toothtaker. The song starts with his aggressive line “get these suckers the fuck up off of me.” This tune proves there are no weak tracks in this collection.
Quite possibly the most interesting album released this year, Demon Queen should certainly raise some brows with Exorcise Tape, in addition to confusion amongst innocent bystanders and, ultimately, the energy of the dance floor at the trendiest of underground clubs in LA, New York and elsewhere. Those bold enough to throw this demonic album in their players will be exposed to something completely new and totally wild. The use of guest spots was wise and absolutely enhances the final product. Mastermind Tobacco and compadre Zackey Force Funk should be commended for seeing this project through and approaching it with such open creativity, for what came out of it is devilishly good.