The Mantis Chapter are producer Acas 13 and vocalist TS One and they have been creating hip hop together since the early 90’s and it shows on this EP with breaks, cuts and flow in all the right places, there’s even an appearance on the decks by Killa Instinct member DJ Geta and on the mic by Dark Craftsmen frontman Tekneek and Eastborn who has also released this record on his Dropzone Records label.
From the intro ‘Sound Of The Baskervilles’ through to the final track ‘Nightmares’ these guys give it everything they have got, excellent production, very dark eerie beats and an excellent vocal display by TS One. It is very much influenced by early 90’s hip hop. The first vocal track is ‘Back 2 The Battle’ featuring Geta and Tekneek, a dark mid tempo beat, not the hardest of drums, but that helps the artists shine and the emcee’s ride on it well, excellent battle lyrics from both and Geta displaying his trademark cuts. Next up is ‘Eastern Mystics’ a more up tempo, but still as dark track, with TS One proving how long he has been practising his art with a superb vocal display showing just how talented he is.
First track on the B Side is ‘The Witchin’ featuring Eastborn, again, a dark eerie beat with a monk-like chant running throughout, both emcee’s ride it well and it’s well produced, but it’s very tame and probably wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, especially if you like your hip hop with big beats, it’s very reminiscent of something from the Gravediggaz in my opinion, which isn’t a bad thing.
Next up is the stand out track for me, if ‘The Witchin’ doesn’t suit the big beat fans then ‘Essays From The Unseen’ will, an awesome beat bringing the old school out of Acas 13, big drums, dark samples and TS One, again, dropping excellent rhymes. This track is a must for all fans of early UK hip hop and britcore, because, basically, that’s what it is a wicked wicked track, that’s all that needs to be said. Finally it’s ‘Nightmares’ which is a bit funkier than the previous tracks, but still has a mysterious edge to it, which is what seems to be the theme to the whole EP.
Overall it’s a good release with a superb vocal display by TS One and Acas 13 showing that he has the ability to be one of the UK’s top producers when it comes to the dark underground style. Probably not suitable for the lovers of fast tempo all guns blazing style of hip hop (apart from ‘Essays From The Unseen’), but a solid debut nonetheless, I look forward to the next release.
1. Sound Of The Baskervilles
2. Back 2 The Battle
3. Eastern Mystics
1. The Witchin’
2. Essays From The Unseen
Reviewed by Websta for Heroes Of UK Hip Hop 2006