|Recording information: 934 Studios, Totowa, NJ; Black Key Studios; DPA Studios, Detroit, MI; DPA Studios, Oak Park, MI; Effigy Studios; Jungle City Studios, New York, NY; Parhelion Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA.
|Opening with a horror movie intro, where chainsaws roar and heads fly, Slaughterhouse's major-label debut instantly feels like an Eminem album. Of course, it's on his label Shady, he is the executive producer, and one track later, he's on the cut "Our House" with his "Love the Way You Lie" co-star Skylar Grey providing the hook, and while it's a formula that works for his group D12, Slaughterhouse is comprised of respected veterans, as in Joe Budden, Joel Ortiz, Crooked I, and Royce da 5'9". This determined crew righteously tore things up on their self-titled debut, an album which fed on a "world won't listen"-style anger, which here has evolved into a credible strut, with successful folks like Busta Rhymes acting as their equal on the electro-pumping highlight "Coffin." Swizz Beatz sees the group as the monied dons of the strip club during the top party cut "Throw It Away" as lesbians get "piped" and flying thongs land in champagne glasses. Still in the club, "Throw That" sits in the same booth but seeking "higher mileage" with "I throw this, I throw this dick on you girl" as its brutish hook. Elsewhere, it's the hilarious "Her pussy hotter than a chili pepper/I tell her laydown, and give it away, give it away now" on the aptly titled "Frat House," and then there's "Flip a Bird," a solid anchor for the surprisingly hedonistic album, hitting the group's sweet spot with its light hook and complex word play. "My Life" with Cee-Lo Green, and the concealed weapon "Hammer Dance" ("two-steppin with my weapon on") are right there too, while "Get Up" is an amazing showcase for the crew's clever use of cadence -- check how the words bounce back and forth during the chorus. Still hormones, honeys, home boys, hopes, dreams, horror, Eminem, and the state of hip-hop is a lot to shove into an album, and with both the group and their superstar label boss known for wearing their ambition on their sleeve, there's an over-eager overflow here that means some details got missed. Crotch-grabbing tracks might crash into a convincing emo-rap number and these proven wordsmiths might have left more room for guests and hooks than they probably should have, but just because their indie debut was a more cohesive showcase doesn't mean the joy and pain of Welcome to Our House isn't worth the required sorting. ~ David Jeffries