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Presence Rise

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Friday, June 6, 2003 @ 11:06 AM

(Curb Records)

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Gee, Presence is a rap metal band from Tallahassee, Florida--c’mon metalheads, you know what that means—funky fresh beats and a kick ass rhythm section!

Of all of Fred Durst’s girth-laden transgressions on this Earth, his influence over an entire generation of white trash, hip hop, rap rock wannabees has to be the most abhorrent. Well, wait a minute…his twisted fascination/tattoo of Kurt Cobain (an artist whose ashes contain more talent than Mr. Durst) may be even be more distasteful and repugnant. Go ahead Fred, tattoo Kurt’s penis on your forehead, it isn’t going lend you any credibility—neither is touring with Metallica. It only means that by going out with Lars that you might be the second biggest dick on the tour. Basically, you are the musical equivalent of a yellow, festering boil on the anus of Rock n’ Roll. It is because I can rarely listen to hip hop flavored metal without experiencing some type of undesirable Fred Durst sublimation that I figured I was really going to hate this album.

Duty called though, so I threw this record on the old turntable, stuck a pick in my fro and…and…actually didn’t dislike what I heard. The first tune on Rise, “Soundcheck” is a slamming introductory track that has a seamless, booming lower end. Basically, if this song was a girl it would have been one of those big ass bitches in those Sir Mix A Lot videos. Remember, it’s like he always said, “his anaconda don’t want none, unless it’s got buns, hun.” Vocalist, Jay Slim, actually manages to sing/rap the lyrics here with enough baritone so that it doesn’t sound like he’s whining or crying about the size of his Dickies. Yeah, in parts of the song he sounds an awful lot like Zach De La Rocha, but as far as rap metal hybrids go, you can do much worse than emulating Rage Against the Machine.

The momentum carries on to the second song, “Hold Up” and on into the sadly pathetic tune, “Tonz of Fun,” which details a plight of a young, hung over male who finds himself waking up in the morning with a chick the size of “Carnie Wilson” -- pre-stomach staple, I would assume—in bed next to him. Of course the whole scene is awkward and his deep desire to wash his nuts afterward is combined with his insistence that she waddle out of his place as soon possible. After she’s gone, part of him is just glad to be alive, “since she was nearly twice my size. Big is beautiful, but I’m just a small guy, and I could break under the weight of one of her thighs.” His internal quandary regarding whether or not he should drink anymore is a problem that most men would say they’ve had to deal with at some point. In addition, the disgust of banging a fat gal has also been a dilemma that’s been known to “pop up” from time to time.

Even though this major label debut is consistent, the most promising song on this release would have to be “One Final Breath,” which takes on the theme of loss and regret with a background of sound that accentuates the emotion inherent in the lyrics. The diversity involved in music is also more profound here as the band attempts to deliver lyrics slightly more relevant than, “I did it all for the nookie, c’mon, the nookie, c’mon, and you can take this cookie and stick it up your ass.” Boy howdy, did that suck. This, on the other hand, doesn’t. Everyone should be able to relate to the words, “I wish I had a second chance to say I love you before you passed away.” This is a situation, like many others on this offering that is universal in theme and doesn’t involve those “bitchy” parents who just don’t understand.

To be fair, Rise is derivative—that is, more derivative than many new albums, but what makes this a selection worth carrying about is in the execution of their influences. For people who like P.O.D. and Rage, Presence is definitely a group that can be enjoyed and listened to for what it is—rock influenced by the last fifteen years or so of pop music and culture. If you can’t get over the whole Florida-Fred Durst nightmare, I understand--believe me—just make sure you throw Fred the finger when you go to see Metallica this summer, and if you end up wanting to know how rap metal should sound when it’s done correctly, pick this one up.

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