Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Album Review: Various Artists- Catch The Throne: The Mixtape Vol 2

Various Artists 
Catch The Throne: The Mixtape Vol 2
*** out of *****
Last year HBO brought in hip hop artists to rhyme over beats and music taken from their supremely successful series Game of Thrones which is based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Now it is back in expanded fashion.

Method Man opens things with only a verse based on the Watcher on the Wall oath. It acts as an intro with more samples from the show then actual lyrics from Method Man himself, but the combo puts us back nicely into Westeros. MDNR moves things intro electro-pop with skittering beats in one of the more flushed out complete songs that doesn't owe much to GoT proper. 

Modern day R&B is highlighted with Melanie Fiona's "Fight To Do It" while Ty Dolla $ign  twists in samples from the best character of season 4, Oberyn Martell. Kap G gives a better effort on "Surrender Now" tying in the story and swinging back up North to the wall with the samples. Yandel gets the Reggaeton flowing while Raquel Sofia stands out going bilingual pop, expertly crooning "Legends"

Snoop Dog puts fourth a valiant effort with "Lannister's Anthem" a powerful take the Golden Lions could be proud of. Another hip hop veteran Talib Kweli drops in and puts out extra work for Davos Seaworth and Stannis Baratheon rhyming about "Lord Of The Light" in the most complete hip hop track here.  

Like each book and each season of the show, the mixtape expands as well, up to 15 songs this time adding metal to the mix instead of just hip hop. The Red Viper's pursuit of justice continues with the pounding drums of Killswitch Engage's "Loyalty". This injection makes perfect sense as swords and sorcery as well as literature (both fantasy and otherwise) are common place in metal lyrics.

Anthrax expertly gives a mix of punk and old school metal in "Soror Irrumator" while Mushroomhead tries to mix the hip hop and metal on disk closer "Among The Crows" but combining those two styles has always been tricky. Mastodon on the other hand does a slow build with acoustic guitars and huge drums on "White Walker" and using that delicate touch makes the track standout. 

HBO wants to expand viewer base for the series even more hence the wide range of artists/styles and the metal vibe is such a natural fit it makes sense not to overload things in that vein. As a complete listen though that upbeat injection gives this version of the mixtape more life then the previous, growing the anticipation even more for season 5 next month. 
Listen for yourself below, but never forget Winter Is Coming:

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