Schaffer the Darklord is one of the best artists in the “Nerdcore” genre. If you’re not familiar with “Nerdcore” then read this first. Schaffer has been around for quite a while and released several albums but “Mark of the Beast” is his best effort so far.
Schaffer the Darklord music is impossible to explain adequately; it’s a blend of humor, intellectualism, absurdity, and impressive skill. Most of the songs on “Mark of the Beast” are filled with ironic subtext and self referential humor.
One of Schaffer’s skills is poking fun at himself and not trying to take on a typical rap persona. He sets himself apart from typical rappers in the album’s first song “The Rappist.” This opening track serves to tell the listener what to expect with lyrics like “I’m no DR. DRE, I’m more like DR. Seuss.” He proceeds to make fun of himself with lines like: “everyone will wonder what the booker was under when I come on out and step to the mike.”
While the first song sets out to give an idea of what to expect from the album, nothing can really prepare you for some of the songs that come later. This album is clearly the product of a very strange mind, which happens to make for great music. Some of the most notable tracks are “The Tin Man” “Night of the Living Christ” and one that’s just so wrong I can’t even write the title here and will refer to it as “track 5.”
“The Tin Man” is a very dark song but also very brilliant. The song tells the “Wizard of Oz” story as a horror tale with the Tin Man as a heartless ax-wielding maniac. “Night of the Living Christ” is another dark twist on a familiar story that is as brilliant as it is disturbing. This brings us to “track number 5.” This song is amazingly bizarre and unique. The nature of this one is something I can’t even describe here, it just has to be heard; beware, however, this on is not for everyone.
Other high points are the upbeat “Dive Down” the autobiographical “Bitter Musician” and the socially critical and relevant “The Way You Talk.” In all, the fifteen songs on Schaffer the Darklord’s “The Mark of The Beast” comprise a unique and excellent experience that is well worth the ten dollar investment.