"Veracity" By BackWordz (Dallas, Texas)/Nu Metal
Nu Metal/Released March 2017
Nu metal is easily one of metal's most polarizing sub-genres. Practitioner's of the style often get hate for its deviations from "traditional" metal with its simpler guitar style, radio friendly choruses, and common inclusions of hip hop elements. The fashion didn't help either with many bands sporting hip hop clothing trends, dreads, and cumbersome JNCO jeans. Despite its criticisms nu metal experienced a decade's worth of popularity from the mid 90s to early 2000s. In recent years however the genre has been creeping back into style with many newer bands sporting nu metal inspired albums. Texas bred quintet BackWordz is one of the bands among this nu metal revival movement and has hit the music scene with their debut album Veracity.
BackWordz was formed in late 2014 after front man Eric July left the band Fire From The Gods. A vocal and active Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarian, July was introduced to the future instrumentalists of BackWordz and with their shared vision formed the band putting their strong political vision front and center for their songs and image. Eric July provides impassioned rapped and screamed vocals while bassist Alex James performs cleanly sung vocals giving the group a melodic edge. After partnering with Stay Sick Records the band released their debut LP Veracity on March 31st, 2017.
BackWordz sound is firmly planted in the rap rock end of nu metal. Distorted, rhythmic guitars, rapped and screamed verses performed by Eric July, and clean sung choruses performed by Alex James. The band mostly follows this formula through the whole record with a few choice exceptions. "Tell Me" is a pure hip hop track where July performs the hook himself. "Addict" is also a departure being another hip hop inspired track with James singing on the song alone. While the band definitely has their formula each song comes off very strong with the melodic hooks being earworms that will stick with you long after a first listen. The real power behind BackWordz's sound is Eric July's rapping ability. A primary reason I believe rap rock and nu metal is looked down upon is because of the rarity of truly talented rappers in rock bands. July however takes influence from the layered rhymes of top tier rappers such as Nas and Rakim, easily being a cut above the simpler rhyme schemes of most rap rockers. And possibly even surpassing top rap rock names like Zach De La Rocha and Mike Shinoda, With July's razor sharp rhymes each song cuts it's message into you with ease and clarity.
BackWordz definitely has alot to say with a hefty eighteen tracks on this debut. Every song touching on various political views from the AnCap Libertarian perspective. Tracks like "Individualism" and "Self Ownership" criticize the very idea of government and promotes the power of individual people to help themselves. "Demon Rat" and "Statism" talk about how politicians swindle the public and calls support of the government a form of voluntary slavery. "Praxeology", "Utopias Don't Exist", and "Democracy Sucks" feature some of my favorite hooks of the whole record and promotes similar themes. "The Professional Protester" criticizes left wing protesters and claims many hypocrisies of their views and effrots. "Be Great" is the longest track of the album and features a long hip hop section that gets personal and details July's life history. Including his departure from Fire From The Gods. Closing track "Set Us Free" ends the album on a softer note with melodic instrumentation and reggae inspired singing in parts.
Veracity is a surprisingly strong debut from BackWordz that breathes new life into the nu metal genre. The undeniably catchy hooks, highly skilled rapping, and on the nose political message makes for an album ripe with intensity and heart. Music has long been a vehicle for political messages and BackWordz provide a voice for an often overlooked perspective and deliver with more directness than even Rage Against The Machine did. Eighteen tracks for a debut album was a risk but I can't really point out any weak tracks on the record. If there's going to be a nu metal revival then BackWordz will definitely be known as one of its leaders.