Aries rings in the Chinese New Year with an EP dedicated to all things gruff. Teaming up with distinctive gravel-throated MC Blackout JA for "Dancehall Ruler", it's classic skank-wise Aries soul. "Vicious", meanwhile, shows the darker, rougher-edge to the midlands murker while "I Need You" pays homage to the rave foundations with big loopy vocal and grizzly drum rolls. Finally we a hit "Ways Of The Underground" that comes with just a wee whiff of "Brand New Funk"... References don't come much higher really.
Following two killer releases from label boss Amit and Nomine's "Empty Rooms", Amar wraps up its busiest (and best) year to date with two contrasting slices of modern day jungle... And introduces brand new talent in the process: Canadian newcomer AU. "Fear Dem" is a moody halfstep slapper drenched in Collinjah's soundclash-primed dancehall vocal while "Oncle Arm" is a jugular-cutting slab of classic jungle complete with Headz-style textures, growling bass and eerie samples. A very strong debut.