Hell's Winter

[3] The litany of victims is still long, and so is the list of perversions, but veteran New York rhymer Cage is beginning to put some artistic distance between himself and his horrific upbringing. His latest still plays like Eminem’s worst nightmares, yet the occasional forays outside Cage’s tortured mind make this less unbearably intense than his debut, Movies For The Blind. With a collection of beats (from El-P, RJD2 and, surprisingly, DJ Shadow) that are both worthy of their creators’ reps and sometimes ("Shoot Frank") even atmospherically lovely, Hell’s Winter is the sound of Cage taking his first steps in from the cold. (DEF JUX) Dan LeRoy