Sinners rejoice! London rap/punk duo Bob Vylan (pronounced Villain) have returned with their second EP Dread; and its as volatile, blasphemous and direct as their first offering. After a packed 2018 performing at Afropunk, Decolonsie fest and Berghain in Berlin, the pair have produced another knockout DIY aural takedown tackling issues surrounding race, religion, and death.
As stated in their ‘Intro’ to the new record, Bobby (vocals & production) and Bobb13 (drums & spiritual inspiration) are “making the best music this side of heaven, even when singing about Satan”. They exist to take down oppressive forces in a pulverizing blur of crazed vocals and hardcore drums, and second track ‘Down’ does exactly that. It bleeds in to the spaced out, violently poetic ‘Join Us’ – a call out to to the lost souls who aren’t really lost, just left behind by constitutions designed to isolate them.
‘Storm in (Interlude)’ slices with its directness, heavy guitar riffs and voice samples, followed by the aggressive, trap-infused ‘Run Up’ which takes no prisoners. It lays waste to any barriers in the band’s way (and is probably a riot when heard live). On penultimate track ‘Grime Music Made Me Do It’ the pair explore assumed responsibility with lyrics like “I’m for peace but I don’t turn the other cheek” and “I ain’t saying that it’s right, I’m just saying how it is”. The sinister ‘Die Slow’ follows in a rampage of knockout drumming and relentless vocals.
Final song ‘We Don’t Care (It Ain’t Safe)’ calls out the faux liberalism of yuppies who think cultural appropriation is fodder for their keyboard activism. It’s not hard to be an ally – all you have to do is listen – and this track in particular is a brutal but necessary reminder to those who are attempting to use the issues of others to appease their own guilt.
Whilst Bob Vylan’s music is easy to thrash and forget to, its underlying message of respect and advocating for the rights of others is just as loud as the noise they’re rightfully ranting over. Listen to Dread below and follow Bob Vylan on Facebook for more updates.