CD Review: ‘Here Come The Infidels’ by Stuck Mojo

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On June 24, I received my copy of Atlanta-based rap metal purveyor Stuck Mojo’s new album, Here Come The Infidels. This release raised a lot of red flags for longtime fans, including myself, as just prior to its inception the group saw a massive reformation from the classic Rising-era lineup, which had played several extremely well-received reunion shows, to a lineup that features two brand new faces. Many fans were upset, or simply confused, at the exit of bassist Corey Lowery and frontman Bonz; myself included. I’ve been a fan of Rich Ward’s for long enough, however, to give anything that he’s doing a fair chance, as often it pays off. So, with that, I opened my ears to this new Mojo incarnation, featuring Ward, Frank Fontsere [drums], and the new inclusions of Lenwood Sonnier [bass], and frontman Robby J.

I think the biggest question that long-time fans of Mojo face with this album is this: Does Robby J. measure up to Bonz? Bonz is a true menace on the microphone. His acerbic words, lashing out and cracking as quickly as any whip, left many fans in awe over the course of the band’s earlier albums. Following his departure several years back, he was replaced by Lord Nelson, whose style was much more paced and deliberately delivered. To my ears, Mojo was still a force with which to be reckoned. Robby J. goes back to a much quicker conveyance, spitting rhymes with seeming effortlessness. As he states in “Verbal Combat,” he’s not a rapper; he’s a lyrical machine. Rather than compare the two then, it’s better that we simply listen to the music and see if it moves us.

Rich Ward has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind, especially through Stuck Mojo. Whether it’s politics or social commentary, he wears his heart on his sleeve. I find it ridiculous when people say that musicians shouldn’t express their political views in their music, as politics often affect important aspects of our lives. Now, that’s not to say that I agree with everything that I find here. In some instances I share his perspective, and others I’m surely on the other side. But, musically, all of it is awesome! With a title like Here Come The Infidels, you’d expect that it was painted heavily in anti-Islamic sentiment, but I have heard little to nothing that broaches the subjects of Islam, or even jihad. The title track that opens the release is rather a proclamation to listeners that the Four-Piece Of Doom has arisen. What follows that track is, quite simply, a damn good album.

There will surely be listeners who will not like this release, either because they don’t want to give it a chance, or because it occasionally ventures outside of what you’d expect from a Stuck Mojo album. I, personally, don’t want a rehash of Rising or Declaration Of A Headhunter, no matter how much I love those records. However, long-time fans should easily connect with the pummeling aggression of “Rape Whistle” and the rhythmic swagger of “Charles Bronson,” which certainly feel like they could have been on Rising. The high speed bludgeoning of “The Business Of Hate” should put a smile on many a face as well. At the same time, it might take a little longer for them to come to terms with “Destroyer,” whose high chorus vocals brought to mind [Ward’s rock band] Fozzy’s song “New Day’s Dawn,” and “Fire Me,” which is a rafter-raising rock anthem. But, if they can acclimate their minds into giving these and the rest a few spins, I have no doubt that more spins will follow.

Here Come The Infidels is not the record I thought we, as fans, were going to get. I expected the reunion line-up would come together to release one album before something went awry and they fell to pieces. Then we’d be left with not only questions of “What went wrong?” but an album full of possibly great material that would unlikely ever be played live and be dipped in a vat of bittersweet feelings. Instead, I’ve been greeted with a truly wonderful, aggressive, passionate revival of a band that I’ve been a fan of for years, which appears ready to put all their weight behind delivering one hell of a show. Stuck Mojo has never been a band to dismiss.  Here Come The Infidels is no exception.

 
Buy Here Come The Infidels at: iTunes | Amazon
Take a look Behind The Scenes!

For more on Stuck Mojo, visit:
Facebook | Twitter | Twitter – Rich Ward | Twitter – Robby J. | Twitter – Frank Fontsere

 

2016 SweetWater 420 Festival Coverage

The SweetWater 420 Festival returned to Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park on April 22 – 24 for the annual musical and beer festival for the ultimate SweetWater experience. From an all-star musical lineup of acts consisting of approximately 50 bands, ranging from The Roots, to The People’s Blue of Richmond to our very own Ludacris, the SweetWater 420 Festival was the place to be at with an amazing cross section of music from rock to R&B to hip-hop to bluegrass to electronica and indie all mixed together to give it the perfect vibe for a fantastic weekend. There was something for everyone to indulge in.

The music was hot and the beer was cold, especially in The SweetWater Experience Tent where you had the opportunity to taste test up to 40 distinct beers, sit down and listen to brew masters, then follow up with Q & A sessions afterwards. Plus there was always the chance of sitting down and having a beer or two with a band, like Leftover Salmon.

What makes the 420 Festival so special and such a huge part of Atlanta is it’s really more than just having a good time, yes, that is part of it, going out and having fun with friends, listening to some of your favorite artists perform live, but it’s also about being with people in a pretty cohesive environment and respecting the environment that we all share together. The saying at the festival is “we’re here for a good time, she’s here for a longtime” (referencing mother earth and to pay respect and homage to her).

Founder of The SweetWater Brewery said it best “When you love what you do, it’s not work.” And how could you not love the perfect weekend in spent in Atlanta being immersed in music, beer, amazing food and great works of art from local artists.

All photos by Danielle Boise for Target Audience Magazine.

 

Saturday, April 23 420 Festival Photography Coverage

Chrome Pony

North Mississippi Allstars

Maceo Parker

Tokyo Police Club

Dawes

The Word

Rebelution

The Roots

AWOLNATION

Bastille

The SweetWater Experience Tent

Atmospheric – This is what it’s like to be at The SweetWater 420 Festival. Filled with later, friends, beer and a great time.


Sunday, April 24 420 Festival Photography Coverage – photos by Danielle Boise

Leftover Salmon

People’s Blues of Richmond

Waking Astronomer

Voodoo Visionary

Manchester Orchestra

Nahko And Medicine For The People

Atmosphere

Michael Franti & Spearhead

The Bright Light Social Hour

Ludacris

Robert DeLong

Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

The SweetWater Experience Tent

Atmospheric – This is what it’s like to be at The SweetWater 420 Festival. Filled with later, friends, beer and a great time.