Mumia Abu-Jamal / Man Is The Bastard - Split (Cover Artwork)

Mumia Abu-Jamal / Man Is The Bastard

Split (1997)

Alternative Tentacles

This CD is a split record. The first 12 tracks are spoken word by Mumia Abu-Jamal (as well as some by Assata Shakur, Jello Biafra, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dole) and the last 4 tracks are music by Man Is The Bastard. Mumia Abu-Jamal is a radical activist/journalist/author/collumnist/spoken word artist who has been on death row since 1982. On this record he rants about, among other things, police brutality, racism, the civil rights movement and death row itself. The perhaps most intriguing and moving track of the CD is the first one, where Mumia describes the feeling of living on death row, as well as pointing out fundamentally unfair aspects of the legal system in the US. His voice is dedicated, determined and sincere, and is pleasant to listen to.

I think the spoken word part could have been even better. Some of the subjects covered are, although deeply relevant, not the most interesting. I'm missing Mumia's take on international politics and his perspective on bigger issues, which often can be even more thought-provoking. Those who subscribe to his columns know what I mean.

Man Is The Bastard is an obscure act, even by hardcore standards. Their heavy, slow hardcore (or more specifically: power violence) is fueled by two bass guitars, multiple growling/screaming vocalists and pummeling drums. The production is raw and unpolished and the feedback factor is relatively high. Extreme music, basically. Still, the link between them and Mumia is far from absurd. Both are on a mission of radical change. When reading their lyrics you discover that the spirit is the same as that of Mumia, and hopefully this will shine true and become audible in their music, even to those who normally would find it unlistenable.

Man Is The Bastard is a band with a truly unique sound (something which is far from common these days). Their three songs (the first one is an intro) create a very powerful atmosphere. The heavy bass riffing can only be described as both catchy to original. The growling vocals effectively drive the message in. My only complaint is that they from time to time stick to one specific part for too long, which can get boring.

The cover inlay booklet of the CD is thick and very informative, the artwork is cool, so there's nothing missing with the packaging. The playing time of the CD is by far long enough, so in this respect it is a very "complete" record. Although the spoken word material is a bit uneven, this CD is worth buying.