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We have been waiting quite a long time for this album from Winston Rodney, better known as Burning Spear.  It has been almost 15 years since his last studio album, the Grammy winning Jah is Real, and over a decade wait since he first told us he had an album in the works.  No Destroyer was released on his own label, Burning Music and recorded in the Magic Shop.  This is classic Burning Spear, from the beautiful vocals, strong lyrics and amazing arranged music.  He has been one of reggae music’s most consistent and enduring forces, even though we haven’t had a new album in 15 years. Singing in his soulful growl, the beloved Spear is known for his commitment to the African chant style, as well as his potently heavy, penetrating sound of wisdom and emotion. And this album is no different.  His songwriting holds onto the past with his roots reggae style, but is still relevant today.  While each song can stand on its own with their unique sound and story, they fit so nicely together on this 12 track album, flowing easily from one song to the next. It starts with the first track, The Spear, a song about himself with a wonderful horn section and a sweet fun roots feel. 

"No Destroyer", the title track, is a great song about dealing with others.  This has a good bass line and drums, again with some beautiful horns.  Next up is "Independent", a song about Spears independence of music and spirituality.  Moving independently, but I keep on moving! The next track is about the history, roots and culture of Jamaica, with a nice bubble rhythm from the keys. The next track, "Cure For Cancer", is a song asking why is there no cure, is it ineffectiveness or an unwillingness?  This is an upbeat song with a nice flute throughout to make a beautiful song.  Track 6 is "Obsession" and a little different feel than the other songs we’ve heard up to this point.  This song is a little more complex and I love the guitar and organ.  You have to have full responsibility for your actions.  "Mommy" is the next track, this was previously released.  A song about Babylon’s neglecting of youth and what parents can do to fight it.  It’s another upbeat song with some more great horns.  Next up is "Open The Gate", an ode to Bob Marley.  This has a bit of a bluesy feel with the guitar and echoing drums.  Another upbeat song, this one really hits nicely!  "No Fool" is next up, this rootsy song with a focus on dub across the drums.  His lyrical work on this track is different than the other songs, a nice change with his style. 

We return to the more roots reggae feel in "Negril", the off-beat rhythms and staccato beats hits like a song Spear could have written 30 years ago, but still works today. Talk hits us with a beautiful rhythm guitar strumming that takes us on a journey throughout this song, a song about lessening him, a great socially aware song, great lyrics.  Spear finishes off the album with "They Think", a great conclusion for this journey.  A chanting song about his strength and relentlessness.  We may have been waiting for this album for a long time, but is definitely worth the wait.  This is one of my favorite albums out this year.

One Love - Todd


Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

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