Just when you think that the rap-metal genre couldn’t possibly be taken to another level, in come six guys from, of all places, Topeka, Kansas. The band is called 8 Degrees, and they are currently based in Southern California, hoping to land a record deal. Their second independent release, titled A Series of Moments, is a creative and energetic collection of songs that will no doubt help them get closer to realizing their goals.
The first song on the album is an explosive track called “Clayed and Stitched,” which has been featured on ESPN extreme sports and is on regular rotation at 99.1 KSEK in Kansas. With brilliant turntable wizardry courtesy of DJ 1200 King, it is no wonder that the boys have enjoyed a modest amount of success with this melodic, yet hard-hitting tune. The entire CD features exceptional production qualities, above and beyond what is normally found in an independent release. The title track to the CD is no exception. This song doesn’t just mix metal and rap, it overlaps them to form a funky and delicious layered wave of sound. “Before The Fall” is a harmonious and elegantly flowing tune, with the essential hip-hop element transitioning smoothly into a melodic chorus. 8 Degrees’ “lunatic style” continues on the track “Shine,” which features a rapid-fire vocal delivery by frontman Aaron Lambotte. “Wipe Away The Surface,” a song about facing the imminent end of a relationship, possesses so much rhythm one can choreograph a dance routine to it. The CD ends with an untitled track which, with its hypnotizing strings and airy vocals, sounds like atmospheric music from the Eastern Hemisphere. Perhaps this song is included so that the listener can meditate after surviving the shockingly extraordinary ordeal that is this album.
8 Degrees is a truly hard-working band that has been recording and touring for over five years. They even had a stint on the Warped Tour’s Kansas stop in 1998. Yet, unlike fellow Kansans Shuvel, they continue to be cast aside by the major record labels. However, as the band’s bio states, “In the past five years [8 Degrees] has gone from playing ghetto parties for free beer to opening for mega bands such as Papa Roach and Incubus.” While there is no way to predict where their career will go from here, if there is any justice in the world then this band will not remain unsigned for long.