Soundcheck: KNOble Savage - The Loud Terror 

Fringe villain of hip-hop =delivers confessional double EP gift-wrapped in barbed wire

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“I had that Columbine potential,” Oklahoma City’s KNOble Savage raps in his first verse to “Pine Box,” a track that imagines his death and takes the opportunity to reflect on his life, strife, and legacy. That track begins the first half of The Loud Terror, and it doubles as a content warning to the rest of the album, which profanely tackles everything from drug abuse to suicidal thoughts. Rather than present these themes in sobriety, the new double EP flirts with a self-aware romanticism characterized by its gloriously gothic production. The Loud Terror is not a postmortem of the wreckage of harmful decisions. It is the wreckage embodied.

Split into two parts, the new project is subtitled Shotcalling at the Gates of Hell and King Hell Bummer respectively. The first is amped up with church choir samples, distorted beats, and the occasional dash of industrial overtones. The second is a more confessional come down from that high, shifting its punches from the face to the gut.

Throughout the tracklist, KNOble Savage brings on choice heavyweight local features including Jabee, Mars Deli, and SoufWessDes, which is especially notable given how rarely he likes to partner with fellow artists of the scene. Not only is he picky, but his impatience for social graces also makes him a notoriously off putting figure to potential collaborators. He’s so unapologetic that even his track “Sorry” can’t quite apologize in the end.

The flip side is that his art holds back nothing. He doesn’t mind letting loose the occasional “cunt,” for instance, practically daring the listener to take offense even though he uses the term in genderless contexts. KNOble Savage has long let his demons out to play in his work, and The Loud Terror relishes in his abrasiveness like never before.

Behind the boards is Andrew Bair, known more for his part in rock band Admirals than his production work. However, if this project should be a calling card, hip-hop artists would do well to take notice. The sounds here are intense, unique, and visceral. When paired with KNOble Savage’s lyrical content, it’s a double whammy so intoxicating that Brooklyn firebreather Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire has a more than ample platform to spit flames in his spotlight feature verse for Shotcalling at the Gates of Hell closer “Everybody Needs to Get Their Guns.”

The Loud Terror is rife with darkness, but there’s also an ecstasy that keeps the project far from the doldrums in which these topics often reside. KNOble Savage presents life with all of its barbs intact but sees magnificence in the tumult. For him, it isn’t bittersweet. It’s sweet bitterness.

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Evan Jarvicks

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