Darrell Ford
staff writer
August 04, 2005
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Rock Music Reviews
General Patton vs. the X-ecutioners
General Patton vs. the X-ecutioners

Mike Patton (Faith No More) seems determined to branch further and further from the expected. By founding Ipecac, Patton took steps to gain his artistic independence. His collaborative effort with The X-ecutioners screams with the desire to be free of money making restraints even as it provides listeners with a thoroughly enjoyable sonic experience.

Though 23 tracks, the album is barely more than 46 minutes long (some movents falling under the one minute mark as others seem to sprawl towards five). The album opens by asking what to do if “a vicious enemy suddenly started coming at you, armed to the teeth and ready to kill you.” The tracks progress through the escalating struggle between the X-ecutioners and Patton, from declaration to damage assessment and surrender. The flow and pacing of the music doesn’t require the separation into 23 tracks, but the song titles [for example “!Pimps Up, Aces High! 0700HRS. (Westside Swashbuckling Parade)” and “!Kamikaze! 0500HRS (“Take a Piece of Me”)”] go a long way towards making the distinctions worthwhile.

As Patton and the DJs battle, his gritty melody and rhymes [you may remember his rapping efforts from Dan the Automator’s Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By and Handsome Boy Modeling School’s White People] prove a worthy foil for Rob Swift and company. However, the differing styles don’t quite mesh at every turn. The artists appear together on tracks as the Joint Special Operations Task Force, but the varied musical influences smoother each other or oppose each other as the warriors themselves do. Though “!Get Up Punk!” is a joint effort, the scratching is overpowered by Patton’s crooning. Other songs, such as “”Modified combined Obstacle Overlay,” are so eclectic and schizophrenic as to distract the listener from the beauty of their elements.

The best movements during the conflict are definitely “!Fire In The Hole!” and “!Loser Line! (Hate the Player, Hate the Game).” Where the former highlights the harmony that can be reached between Patton’s vocals and the sublime scratching of Swift and the other DJs, the latter reminds listeners that Patton’s art championed this release. “Battle Damage Assessment and Repair,” an excellent piece, suffers from the recycling of scratches and movements from earlier X-ecutioners releases. On the whole, the record deserves more than a casual enthusiast's regard, but may not be strong enough for music fans who aren’t particularly interested in Patton’s vision.

Release date: February 8, 2005
Label: Ipecac Recordings
Rating: 7.5 / 10

[RMR]