If you’ve ever heard any project that Cyrus Malachi has been involved in previously, then you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Ancient Future. These expectations will be lived up to immediately by the opening track, Dark Skies. Over pounding drums and atmospheric keys, Cyrus and long time collaborator M9 deliver typically gritty bars, kicking the album off in fine style.
However, after this same vibe is persisted with, to diminishing impact over the next couple of tracks, you could be forgiven for thinking that this album was going to add little to what you’ve already heard from Triple Darkness, Orphans of Cush or even M9. But you’d be wrong. As befitting a debut solo album, Cyrus Malachi uses the opportunity to create some more personal tracks, providing much needed variety in topic and tone. One example of this would be Duality, a love song, whose lyrics might seem corny in other hands. However, with his raspy delivery, and the typically solid production, it works a treat:
As time passes, we grow closer,
Let’s take a ride on life’s roller coaster,
And experience it as two halves of one whole,
You’re my light, I’m your dark, we share one soul”
Personal experience is also tapped into on Kemetic Love, as he discusses his family and the exceptional Black Maria, an emotive description of his trial and incarceration. The Anatomy produced track is a clear album highlight, with arguably Cyrus’ strongest lyrical performance to date:
Goons getting battered with washsocks filled with batteries,
Blood staines on the pool table – unadulterated savagery,
Her Majesty’s rhapsody, brothers getting shanked and left in agony,
Screws call the cleaners, who freeze dry the blood and sweep it up casually,
Fights breaking out sporadically, tension because no one’s seen their family
The emotion poured into this song is evident in the delivery, as he wraps up the track by saying “I’m never going back again”. Other notable tracks include Brave New World, which paints a hellish picture of the future, the “Black Girl Lost” style cautionary tale of Black Maria, and Cyrus Malachi’s version of the history of Hip-Hop “Animal Circus”.
Are there any negatives then? Only that at 20 tracks long, it could maybe be a little more streamlined. In my opinion, the tracks which could have been left out were the US collaborations, although not necessarily because they are weak tracks, far from it in a couple of cases. Strangely, Cyrus Malachi always takes the last verse on these tracks, making him seem like an afterthought on his own album. On top of that, a few of the guest verses, notably Ruste Juxx’s attack on “Ugg mug bitches”, seem incongruous with the prevailing mood. That said, this album hits far more frequently than it misses, with heartfelt lyrics, and extremely solid, usually piano dominated, production.
Originally posted on www.certifiedbanger.co.uk