Verbs of Iron Bridge embody the best of old school hip-hop on the pure fire flow of “Visionary”. A mystical kick takes over the album for there is a razor-sharp edge to the entirety of the experience. The album deserves volume for it brings the noise and brings it hard. Lyrically masterful, they blend a slew of different lives and aspects that have a poignancy to them. Every verse captures the zeitgeist in strange, beguiling ways. Over the course of the album, they explore a whole series of narratives, going from the personal to the political and back again in a way that feels natural.
A number of different reference points emerge over the course of the album. One of the nearest and dearest to my heart would be the incredible record scratches that adorn much of the collection. Going for that distinct classic approach, one can hear traces of the A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, and more into the fray. Stylistically they bring that unique funkiness that 80s and 90s hip-hop possessed. On the more modern kick of things, they touch upon the mix of Sleaford Mods into the atmosphere making sure that they touch upon social injustice, in terms of historical oppression, ranging everywhere from the economic to the harsh treatment of animals.
Hard-hitting tribal hits start things off on a triumphant kick with the title track “Visionary (feat. Jabba the Kut)”. One of the highlights of the collection, the scratching here stuns with a bit of Kid Koala’s playful spirit influencing the work. Stately chords guide the hard truths of “Cancel Culture”. Bass rumbles on through with the togetherness of “Start Again (feat. Jabba tha Kut)” where there’s a bit of optimism baked into the message. On “Hip Hop (feat. Jibbarish)” there is a cascade of symbolism that enters into the equation. “Golden Calf (Jabba tha Kut)” features a cleverness to it for the song has a multi-faceted, multi-layered quality. An ominous eerie imagery emerges with the unnerving “Spice Visions (feat. Apocraphe, Jabba tha Kut)”. The glow of early 90s G-funk frames the glistening “Herbivore”.
Broken dub fragments are woven together with “Cyclops (feat. Slap Up Mill, Jabba tha Kut)”. Quite unusual and outright carnivalesque samples bloom on the kaleidoscopic “Rebel (feat. Danny Wee)”. “DMT (Dark Matter Theory) – Mr G Remix (feat. Concrete Slugz, Jibbarish, Wisdom, Tekneek, Mr G)” has an early Wu-Tang Clan aspect to it. Various snippets echo out into the infinite on the hyper-articulate and aptly named “Wordsmith (feat. Jabba tha Kut)”. With a dazed, bleary quality comes “Waking (feat. Ash Phoenix, Temple of the Feral)” incorporates a tight, efficient groove. Bringing it all to a close is the gorgeous “Root (feat. Apocraphe, Clover Ray, Jabba tha Kut)”.
Done with a true sense of precision, Verbs of Iron Bridge craft a living, breathing world on the powerful “Visionary”.