God is Dead, or at least he is if you believe Friedrich Nietzsche. And while rappers Flowtecs & Deeq aren’t exactly here to convince you otherwise, their new EP proves there’s still some truth in rituals of the past.
There’s an incense aroma of twisted celestial imagery throughout Seraphim & Apollyon, but Songs of Praise this ain’t. Religious iconography stands shoulder to shoulder with intricate bars of Hellbound blasphemy. Biblical allegory is employed as a vehicle to explore modern-day struggles like relationships, mental health and the creative process.
Flowtecs, of north London, and Deeq of Oxford, are a match made in Zion; the two emcees spin lyrical webs so effortlessly you wonder if they aren’t on some God-given mission. Tracks like ‘Katana Headsplash’ cut through you like, well, a katana, while the gut-punch hook behind ‘Devil Slang’ recalls early Task Force at their best.
Rapid fire bars and demonic hooks set Seraphim & Apollyon apart from the crowd, but it’s in the lyrics that Flowtecs & Deeq really excel. The prophetic imagery behind ‘Haunted Memoirs’ could sound gimmicky in the hands of lesser rappers, but when Flowtecs spits: “Reality scriptures // you man have twisted facts from the fiction // I spit that real shit in any instant” it works.
Of course, none of this works if the instrumentals aren’t up to scratch, but producer Palmer Eldritch hits every note. The boom-bap beats circle chopped up soul samples (with more than a whiff of Wu-Tang) and medieval-inspired instrumentals à la Jedi Mind Tricks.
OK, so the bars spat by Flowtecs & Deeq are far from angelic, but there’s no denying the power of religious iconography here. Like all religious texts, Seraphim & Apollyon works best when you don’t take it literally and recognise the deeper meaning behind it.