Downset - Check Your People (Cover Artwork)


Check Your People (2001)


California band Downset a new cd out, called Check Your People, released on Epitaph Records, one of the premier punk labels in the world. The signing of this band was, I suspect, a part of Epitaph's recent efforts to expand both the genres of music they release and their fan base. Merle Haggard, Joe Strummer, and now Downset's signings are all clear signs of this.

What Downset brings to Epitaph's party is a piece of the rap/rock genre. And when I say rap/rock, that's an emphasis on the rock. Downset is undeniably one of the hardest-sounding bands I've ever heard, miles ahead of rock bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, even Rage Against The Machine. They have a sound that grabs you by the ears and slams your head into the wall, courtesy of guitarists Ares and Rogelio Lozano (Cypress Hill's live guitarist). Singer/lyricist Rey Oropeza lyrics are more introspective than on the band's previous releases, "Downset" and "Do We Speak A Dead Language?", though there are songs about politics, mass-production and consumption of glossy, manufactured, radio-ready music, and the state of life in poverty-stricken areas like the band's native South Central to level off the personal stuff.

The aim of this record is undoubtedly to show everyone how hardcore Downset is, and dammit, they certainly are hardcore. From the album cover (a crowd pummeling a single man) to the heavy, heavy licks to the screams of rage, Downset is definitely a hardcore contender. However, it took me three sittings to finally get through the entire album – hardcore doesn't necessarily mean listenable. To tell you the truth, I can't stand this cd. It scares me. I doubt I'll ever listen to it again. I might even take the advice of a friend and put it in my freezer where it can't hurt me.