Cologne duo Hidden Empire have only a few releases to their name, but look set to enjoy the kind of recognition that fellow German big-room acts like Booka Shade and Oliver Huntemann have attained over the past decade. As Empire demonstrates, their ascent will have a lot to do with their ability to create storming, bass-heavy club tracks that are full of clever effects and tricks. On "Black Beauty", they achieve this with the use of a tingling bass, air raid siren builds and an ominous, churning bass. The title track comprises more air raid sirens, this time released in slow motion in tandem with bleak filters and a menacing low end, while "Transcending Time" sounds like a modern, grainy techno take on Laurent Garnier's classic "Crispy Bacon".
With just a few EPs to their credit, production pair Hidden Empire deliver their debut album. It's a bold move, but one which showcases their production skills. "Journey Into Self" is a menacing, ebm-style groove, while on "World of Fantasy" and "Hummus", they drop pulsating, mesmerising tracks, like evolved versions of 90s trance. "Acid Flashback" is also redolent of the same decade, but recalls the wildest 303 excesses of Emanuel Top and vintage Harthouse. Proving that they are not just obsessed with the past, "In The Woods" is a noisy, rolling techno groove, while on "Fafnir", they channel the influence of the Middle East for a spellbinding percussive workout