8 Diagrams is as exciting as they've ever been.
Ghostface Killah is as wickedly esoteric as ever, Method Man sounds reinvigorated and snapped out of his recent slump, and Raekwon, who's been on record decrying 8 Diagrams, is ice-pick sharp.
Of course, in due time--maybe it'll take years--8 Diagrams will sink in as a compelling, well-regarded album.
8 Diagrams is better than most would have expected: a terrific mix of classic Clan grime and enough new tricks to justify Inspectah Deck's claim that "Wu-Tang keep it fresh like Tupperware."
Considering all that [has happened], it's easy to be grateful for a quirky, uneven album like 8 Diagrams.
You're left with an album that's as chaotic and uneven as the circumstances surrounding its release, It's alternately great, unsatisfying and marked by the sense that not everyone in the Wu Tang Clan is pulling in the same direction.
The sounds are largely tepid arrangements that fail to generate much excitement.
Raekwon, Meth & Co. have lost their lyrical ferocity. Judging by this disappointing return, Wu-Tang may not be forever after all.