When it comes to the rap sub-genre, horrorcore, you will be hard pressed to find a better introduction than Cabal: The Watchers. Released through Mobstyle Music and comprised of Bukshot, Mr Grey and Lo Key, this fusion of three distinct rap styles creates one of the best super groups the underground has seen in years. Following months of cryptic hype building on social media with the mysterious pyramid symbol, the announcement of the members of Cabal was a huge surprise for fans after much speculation as to who they could be. (I was predicting Bukshot, The R.O.C and Lee Carver in the early days, so maybe put a pin in that idea for the future Buk?)
Everything about The Watchers breathes darkness, from its excellent sound production and sinister instrumentals to the lyrical content and vocal delivery. Mr Grey in particular brings his gruff A-game from the Gorilla Voltage albums which I for one appreciated being centre stage on the first verse of the first track, Horns of Hades.
Bukshot is on his usual top form on this album with the brutal delivery we have come to expect from him turned up to eleven for The Watchers. I always enjoy the nods and references to other elements of the underground scene he makes in his verses, such as the shout-out to Beneath the Dirt (@beneathdirt) on The Spawning.
I’ve been a fan of Mr Grey since his signing to Majik Ninja Entertainment in 2016 as half of Gorilla Voltage, and was genuinely gutted when they split in 2019. I enjoyed his two solo albums since then, but believe that his work on The Watchers is potentially his best to date. That might just be because of how fresh in my memory the album is but I stand by it.
Highlight tracks for me are Death Merchants, Madness In Me and Don’t Go In The Basement, though you can be sure there are no skippers on this record. I listened through it three times back to back upon downloading it digitally through iTunes (as you should always pay for your music!) and was consistently blown away by the high quality throughout.
I’m not as familiar with Lo Key as I am with Bukshot and Mr Grey, but his haunting voice and lyrics are a welcome component of the Cabal experience, and his performance on The Watchers means I’ll likely go back to listening to him as much as I have previously. Bleed from The Book of Time is my favourite all-time Lo Key track (and an indisputable masterpiece) and I loved how a lot of his verses on The Watchers reminded me strongly of that song.
Towards the end of the album is a collaboration which felt like it was made for me, featuring Twiztid, Super Famous Fun Time Guys and the almighty Alla Xul Elu. That’s ten phenomenally talented artists packed into one track which rains fire from the heavens throughout its runtime.
Hopefully when the Covid situation has calmed we’ll get a Cabal music video in the future. Any track on the album would make a dope video, though my personal choice would have to be Madness In Me.
Cabal: The Watchers is a serious contender for Album of the Year, which isn’t the only album Bukshot is in the running with as he also released the exceptional Double Dragon with Kung Fu Vampire in February. The first Cabal album is an absolute must for anyone into rap music though it also gets a recommendation to those who aren’t (yet). Thanks for reading and don’t forget, the Cabal is always watching..