Now operating under the name LowkeyMiserable, UK artist Comply has provided listeners with BloodLust, 2021’s most sonically impressive project yet.
This is the last time that I’m going to refer to Comply by his Axed Up moniker, primarily because the sound of this mixtape is so wildly different to any of the duo’s output but also because the intent to make a wholly separate artistic statement with this solo project is intrinsically woven into each and every one of these songs. ‘No Sleep!’ sees the rapper float over a cheerful Kaktus beat, moaning like a spectre searching for solace in the afterlife. There’s shades of other artists (such as Bladee) here in the way that each and every line can be considered its own mini-hook, but there’s just as much superb songwriting from Misery himself here as there is influence from the wider hip-hop sphere. ‘Wake up see your pretty face, I can’t relate’ and ‘I don’t even know if it’s night out’ are just two excerpts from the song, which laments the gradual toll that insomnia has had on the rapper’s body.
Just as on previous release Mystic Angel, Misery’s vocals are presented in layered heaps of anguish. ‘Spencer Mansion’ features some of BloodLust’s standout songwriting, and these vocals are vital to the song’s success. The feature from KevinHilfiger is a mere bonus, as the track’s true strength lies in the rapper’s chemistry with producer and fellow XXIX Club member Sunburn. ‘Glowing’ succeeds for similar reasons, the vocals here are more pained and desperate than anywhere else on the project and the more melodic parts (‘It’s been so long, I swear I’ve changed for the better or worse’) are some of the bleakest moments in the rapper’s entire discography. Some of the more upbeat songs (‘I Know’ and ‘Know Ya’) stray away from this lyrical style, favouring celebrations of hedonism to match the more fluid production. ‘Know Ya’ in particular is a huge banger, employing guest vocals from Scottish singer-songwriter Wtrflls in its quest for XXIX dominance.
Misery has a hand at production here too, impressing on both of the tracks that he contributes to. ‘Down Bad’ might just be the best song here, a gorgeous cloud rap/plug hybrid with by far the best vocal mixing on anything that the rapper has released. It’s a hypnotic piece of music for multiple reasons, seeped in a nostalgic atmosphere reminiscent of 2000’s internet culture and featuring some stunning vocals in its last third especially. Even more impressive than this, though, is the interlude ‘Deception’. Initially consisting only of sombre keys and gothic vocal samples, the track is soon joined by a massive breakbeat rhythm and spine-chilling guitar work. It honestly sounds like it’s part of the Devil May Cry soundtrack, something that I would certainly welcome more of in the future. It’s a simply astonishing work, and well deserving of its place in the tracklist of an otherwise vocal-led project.
Simply put, BloodLust is the full length release of the year so far. No previously released material from either Comply or Axed Up as a collective has come close to matching the incredible soundscapes that these eight tracks deliver, and indeed it would be a serious challenge to do so in the future. If you’re looking for a gothic trap tape with sinister, nocturnal aesthetics and some of the strongest vocal delivery, songwriting and production choices in the game, look no further.
Listen to the project in full below.
Follow Misery on Twitter here.
– Chris (@108seraph)