Album Review: ABSORB – ‘Coping Mechanisms, Missions and Bad Decisions’

Durham based rapper Absorb is back with his new EP, Coping Mechanisms, Missions and Bad Decisions. The six track project marks Absorb’s first solo album since 2008. We’re going to break it down track by track for you.

Rapping since 2003, Absorb has put the work in, going through various changes in style until finding his flow with grime in 2007. However, the #PTFAD rapper isn’t your typical grime artist; Absorb has created his own lane rapping over dubstep and electronic style beats. This sound without a doubt makes him stand out in 2017, but is it too experimental to survive?


#1 ‘Smack’

Given the title of the EP, Coping Mechanisms, Missions and Bad Decisions, ‘Smack’ is a surprisingly upbeat opening track. Coming in with a heavy dubstep beat, you really do get ‘smacked in the face with bass‘ as the lyrics say. ‘Smack’ also brings in some synth tones, creating a sound that inspires a strange comparison to noughties indie/techno band ‘Hadouken!‘.

A strong opening track, but it leaves you wanting more Absorb. The dubstep beat almost overpowers the vocals.

#2 ‘I Come With It’

Slowing the tempo in terms of the pace of the beat, ‘I Come With It’, shows an introspective side to Absorb; “It’s Ben, not Absorb speaking.” There seems to be real emotion invested in this track.

However, the hook “do what you want, I come with it…” conflicts with the solemn vibe of the verses. This may have been done on purpose after all, showing how quickly Absorb can go from bouts of sadness to headstrong confidence.

#3 ‘Triple X Hell’

On this track Absorb is at his most comfortable and arguably his best. The grime beat finally gives him the opportunity to showcase his signature pacy flow, that mixes aggression with control.

“I don’t speak with a Geordie accent, so I don’t get a look in.” – This is an interesting line. A lot of rappers in the North East feel their Geordie accent restricts them, yet Absorb sees it the other way around. On the other hand, this could be potentially a reference to him feeling isolated from the North East hip-hop scene.

#4 ‘She Could Be The One’

Absorb offers up his take on a traditional love song with this one. The track showcases a calmer style from Absorb with less aggression in his delivery. Not the most standout track on the EP but commendable in showing Absorb’s range as an artist.

#5 ‘Power’

Speaking of range, ‘Power’ can best be described as a spoken word track. A stark contrast from the pace and high energy vibe of the beginning of the EP, ‘Power’ much like ‘She Could Be The One’ is again a commendable effort but leaves you feeling like Absorb is restricting himself, in terms of cranking it into top gear with the fast paced lyrical ability ‘Triple X Hell’ proves he has.

#6 ‘What’s That?’

Without a doubt the best track on the EP, ‘What’s That’, is an adrenaline fuelled crescendo that exhibits the lyrical gymnastics that have kept Absorb in this game for so long.  Taking inspiration from 2006 indie smash ‘Monster’ by the Automatic for the hook, this catchy track is the perfect way to round off an interesting EP.

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Overall Coping Mechanisms, Missions and Bad Decisions is a strong EP, taking you from high energy dance vibes, to chilled out intospection and back again. Experimental as it may be, Absorb appears to be slowly but surely finding and perfecting his unique sound.

Words by Johnathan Ramsay