Dropping raspy flows over thick synth grooves and samples from Warsaw and Eraserhead are surefire ways to get this indie hip-hop whore’s temperature up. BLKHRTS are a Denver outfit that bill themselves as “Goth Rap”. While I’m not sure I buy that all the way down the line, it sure is refreshing to hear a group that wears such odd inspiration on its collective sleeve. Double-tracked vocals shift back and forth between minor-melodic piano lines, sandpaper beats and three MC’s that are aware of their skills in a good way. There’s not enough work out there like this, with tracks like BLK HRT, BLK CTY showing off a stuttering drum line over washed out, early-era Goth synth sounds that lull you in until you realize you’re nodding your head along with a Dirty South holler that would normally send you running to your Dissection albums.
If nothing else, the only fault I can find in this album is the rather uninteresting “party song” THS BLKHRTS PARTY which, while still well produced and rapped, just rubs me the wrong way. This is one track on the EP I know for sure would kill in a live show, but I can’t get behind it. The beat is thumpingly repetitive to the point where it loses its effect and drowns out the rest of the production and vocals. Fuck it, though. The EP is free, and this is a group that reminds me a lot of Antipop Consortium (RIP), which is high praise from a guy that has every word of Arrhythmia committed to memory. BLKHRTS aren’t afraid to push the envelope and use sounds that are off-kilter and experimental while still holding down a three-man lyrical flow that would put other rap cadres to the test. Go get the EP and bang it in your mom’s Caravan.