If I'm honest, I've not particularly enjoyed any of Stuck Mojo's previous output beyond the odd track or two here and there, so to find their newest release, the crowd-funded 'Here Come The Infidels', to be such an utterly compelling listening proposition was a surprise to say the least.
The X-factor that's caused such a turnaround of fortunes (in my head at least) is new vocalist Robby J Fonts. Quite simply he's the best rap metal vocalist I've heard since Mike Patton redefined the blueprint for the role back in 1989; On '...Infidels' standout cut 'The Business Of Hate', Fonts proves that he owns by turn the disciplines of hardcore barking, metallic powerhouse vocalising and machine gun rhyming without missing a breath or a beat, and it's this versatility which gives Mojo mainman Rich Ward the breathing space to come up with his most varied and appealing set of tunes since 1996s 'Pig Walk'.
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'Charles Bronson', 'Verbal Combat' and 'Destroyer' cover every base you'd expect from a rap metal album in 2016, with gratifyingly low levels of bozo grandstanding getting in the way of the casual listener's enjoyment. Even the most gangsta track on offer, 'Destroyer', offers little or no braggadocio but lays on the crushing riffage and clever rapping in fine style.
Ward riffs like the master he undoubtedly is throughout – his magnificent axe assault on 'Worst Person On Earth' is a particular delight, and he locks in with rhythm men Frank Fontsere (drums) and new bassist Len Sonnier with machine like precision and sledgehammer effect all over the album.
Penultimate track 'Tamborine' is an earth delight and final track 'Blasphemy' brings the record home in simply stunning fashion with Fonts delivering an absolutely consummate performance to round out proceedings.
Plenty of surprises then, not the least being I managed to listen to the album all the way through and then went back for more. If, as Fonts asserts on closer 'Blasphemy' that it's not about the money or the fame, then it most certainly is about the metal. And, in this instance, the metal is very good indeed. Absolutely worth seeking out.
Stuck Mojo play Bloodstock on 12th August and you can get your tickets right here.