There are very few albums that can genuinely be described as “genre defining”, oh I know a lot get labelled as that but, really, something that was fresh and new ?? Well if I was asked to throw one name out there for an album that was genuinely not quite like anything I’d ever heard before then Senser’s 1994 debut Stacked Up would be one of the first that sprang to mind.
You could label bits of it crossover, if you need to label things that is. Route one metal riffs, bouncy dance beats with everything bound together by a stacatto vocal rap that is in equal parts passionate and forceful. Over the past two decades many have wandered this particular stylistic highway, but Senser went there first.
So fast forward 20 years we find Senser still going strong (well an iffy covers EP notwithstanding) and absolutely as passionate as they ever were. Their subsequent output may have been a bit hit or miss, and they’re a go-to band for the “dat’s not mehtulz” haters, but live they are still a force of nature… a tsunami of riffs, raps and, erm, something else beginning with R. Oh, wait.. rhymes. Classics like Switch and Age Of Panic from Stacked Up still form the core of the band’s live set to this day, and when it comes to hooks that get themselves embedded in your brain they’re still hard to beat.
Right, groundbreaking album, 20 years old, has it stood the sense of time ??
The first thing you notice about the album is that it’s put on a bit of weight and a shiny new gloss. As is the way with these reissues there is a pile of additional remastered, remixed and unreleased stuff thrown in. In fact the array of options to part you from your hard earned cash includes a deluxe double CD box set with collectibles, a double vinyl album and, of course, various digital editions.
Stacked Up sounded ahead of it’s time back in ’94, and even today it has stood the test of time rather well, helped along by the obligatory polish of a great remastering job. If you were to hear this today for the first time you’d probably think it sounded modern, and you’d also probably think that it sounds like a million other things that have come out since, but this was genesis. This was where it all started and in today’s world of immediate access to a ton of music it’s difficult to imagine the impact that Stacked Up had first time around. Even the politics that has driven Senser on through their entire career appears to have come full circle, with the themes of injustice and inequality as valid today as they were back then.
It’s been a while since I listened to Stacked Up, but it’s immediately like being reintroduced to an old friend. Opener States Of Mind leaps from the speakers sounding as fresh and vibrant as ever, and illustrates just how influential Senser’s crossover sound was to become. They may never have received the plaudits they deserved but you just can’t listen to this and fail to see the influences of the group of mates from London on the bands who followed them.
Stacked Up fully deserves the accolade “classic album”, it’s stonking mix of metal guitars, rap vocals and dance beats that has been often imitated but seldom bettered. If you’re a fan of metal/rap crossover then you probably already have this in your collection, but even if you do this re-release is worth splashing out on for the impressive array of bonus material, much of which is unreleased. So what you waiting for, press play, turn it up and get ready to jump around like a lunatic.
And you can never have too many remixes of Age Of Panic…