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Album Review: VIXX Crank Their Sound To The Limit On 2nd Full-Length Release 'Chained Up' [AUDIO]

By John Chiaverina | November 17, 2015 04:27 PM EST

The South Korean boy band VIXX have returned with a second record, entitled "Chained Up."

Released on Nov. 10, "Chained Up" is an intense full-length that at times tests the sonic limits of K-pop while remaining melodic, anthemic and even a little bit naughty throughout.

VIXX was formed in 2012 and consists of members N, Leo, Ken, Ravi, Hongbin and Hyuk. "Chained Up" is the follow up to the boy band's 2013 debut "Voodoo."

The brooding and soundtrack-esque "Mistress (Intro)" opens things up. The intro is an inspired piece of sound design that sets the stage for the music to follow. There is a lot of drama packed into just over a minute of music!

After the intro, "Chained Up" properly opens with the record's titular track, which combines hard hitting contemporary rap drums with a big chorus. Things go from minimal to epic and back again, a sonic tour de force from a K-pop act at the top of their game.

Standout tracks include the swaggering "Hot Enough," which rides a lazy and funky beat indebted to the legendary late hip-hop producer J Dilla. A jazzy guitar moves alongside some head-nodding drums to create a smooth neo soul track, perfect for late nights with a special friend.

"MAZE" is an uptempo electropop banger. Shades of some of Lady Gaga's early sonic sensibility can be found on this song, which is all hard-cutting synths and pounding drums. The thing is updated for 2015, however, with some seriously bonkers vocal production.

"Spider" merges an aggressive distorted bass, some sick rapping and a generally maxed out production aesthetic to great effect.

This whole record has a very intense feel, as if the pushed everything to the literal red zone.

"Chained Up" closes with the one-two punch of "Error" and "Can't Say." At first, "Error" starts slow with piano before building up into an epic chorus and even a dubstep breakdown that leads into some wild rapping.

The final track "Can't Say," inserts some tasty guitar riffing, live rock 'n roll drumming and even a little bit of rapping into an epic love song that closes the album the right way.

What a ride!

"Chained Up" is a winning and boundary-pushing record from one of K-pop's more cutting edge boy bands. If you don't mind a bit of taboo subject matter and a lot of hard hitting production, VIXX might just be the group for you.

Listen to the new VIXX album "Chained Up" RIGHT HERE

John Chiaverina is a musician and journalist living in New York City. He has performed in over 18 countries, including two tours of South Korea, under the name "Juiceboxxx."

Tagged :  Vixxx, chained up, VIXX, vixx comeback, album, new album, album review, review, kpop, K-Pop

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