Review: What a combo: roller king Bladerunner co-signs Newcastle newcomer Nectax with these two crucial collabos on his label Hi Resolution. Both tracks flexing both individual artists sounds, there's a big sweeping sci-fi edge to the basslines; "The Fall" is a little deeper with its soulful vocal, bashy fills and dynamic drops into soaring metallic bass tones while "Badlands" doesn't just blow the doors off, it fells the trees, treats the wood, builds the doors then blows them off again. Savagery of the high collabo order. If Nectax isn't on your radar yet, he ruddy well should be now. Badness.
Review: Dub Damage Recordings don't tend to put out music that's weak, thin or otherwise not suitable for the dancefloor. This EP courtesy of Jeopardize & Exile is a testament to that, both cuts do some serious damage and the release overall is certainly on the sharper end of the spectrum. 'Cypher' is the best of the bunch and it's got a rough, Sofa Sound edge that injects a satisfying level of oomph into the arrangement. Exile's remix of 'Cuntroll' is a close second and its incredibly unique concoction of swirling basses and gargling pulsars adds a wicked futuristic element. Top EP from the Dub Damage crew.
Review: Some say he got his name because he's as driven by detail and as ruthless as a tax inspector. Others say he got his name because he's so hard you can stick tacks in his neck and he doesn't even notice. What we do know is that he's responsible for three precision productions that get right to the gully heart of the matter... "Midnight" is all about the power bounce, "Labyrinth" is a shaken-and-stirred roller with a really cool, almost Skeppy-like vocal twist up and dreamy pads, "Snide" is all about the late 90s Ram sound with its vicious riff that twists in and around the beats in a kind of Shimon-esque style. Complete with a killer VIP from the label boss Hybrid, you'll be playing "Midnight" round the clock.
Review: Newcastle representing! Deep in the vital north east D&B trenches, Nectax steps up to Serial Killaz with five cuts of absolute rolling stinkage. "Paradox" hits both hard and soft thanks to its submarine bass and sultry rave vocal while "Hologram" takes us down the deep dark groaning path on a no return ticket. "Greedo" is every bit as chubby as it sounds thanks to an old school sounding tubular bassline and a proper cheeky breakbeat shuffle, "Dice" puts everything on red and wins the game thanks to its cantankerous bass grumbles and processed rave vocal while "One More Sunset" flips the vibe for a dusty, subdued deep-out. Easily Nectax's most accomplished and comprehensive EP to date. More please.
Review: Destination Newcastle: northern newcomers Nectax and Skantia pair up to take a side each on their Dub Damage debut. Nectax takes the lead with "Cypher", a sense-blurring groaner that tips a wry nod at the late 2000s Ram style with its width and gusto. Skantia follows with a rather trippy take on the Belgian jump up sound. Clipped and trimmed lasers cutting like razors and just the right amount of leftfield off-grid looseness to the groove, "Lazer Defence" lives up to its name in the most brutal way possible. Damagement.
Review: Don't be misled by the title: this is no thrown-together 'greatest hits' package but rather a 40-track label showcase from DJ Hybrid's Audio Addict label, coming complete (if you opt to buy the whole album) with a fast and furious, 52-minute mixed version by Canada's RMS, aka Paul Currie. Tracks come a mixture of relatively new names (Martyn Nytram, Saffire Dubz, Confusious) and more established players (LJ High, Scartip and of course Hybrid himself), while stylistically the album touches on various different D&B sub-genres, but with the emphasis always firmly on cuts that are built to tear up the rave.
Review: Ooof! Sub-liminal are spoiling us right here: 19 tracks and a mix killer mix from gully professor Too Greezey. Loaded with upfront exclusives, VIPs and classics in equal measure. One moment we're squelching and squirming to the wet bass on Warhead's "Bad Trip", the next we're gurning and turning to Benny L's Dillinja-esque remix of Hybrid & Agro, the next we're spooking out to the Clipz-style harmonies on Guzi's "Business" VIP, the next we're writing out our last will and testament to Agro's incredible mix of Leaf's "New Life". That's just scratching the tip of this murky iceberg, there are myriad other bangers awaiting your attention, just tuck in.
Review: Two and a half years deep into their dark star safari Sub-Liminal continue to shred up the dance with a crack team of heavy bass innovators. Bass riffs galore and aesthetics so unforgiving, every track is tailored for the most underground floor... The worming low-end mashery of Too Greezey's "Modulation", Leaf's oddball drum funk and melting trumpets on "Shoot Off", Warhead's brutal technoid mutations on "A'Gwarn" and Tyrant's absolutely annihilating "Nuclear Bomb" are just four of the 14 high level bangers on display here. There's nothing subliminal about the message on this one: not picking up on this is a criminal offence.
Review: In terms of legendary status for labels over on the jungle/jump-up side of the scene, it's pretty hard to beat Serial Killaz. Run by the duo of the same name, the imprint has arrived with the second instalment of their mixtape series and it's unsurprisingly good. Full of big tunes from guys like Serial Killaz themselves, Vital Elements and Upgrade, it's the latter of these guys that takes the cake with 'Steel Drum'. You've probably heard this one doing the rounds and it's actually already been released, but oh boy what a tune this is: a screaming, siren-lake mash of grating metallic synths and punching drums all come together to make an unstoppably good piece of music. Don't sleep on the rest of these tunes though, and a special mention goes to DJ Hybrid's 'Beatbox' - naught jungle vibes.
Review: This is an album for any discerning D&B head who has been locked in to the sounds of D&B this year. Featuring the likes of SL8r, Kumarachi, DJ Hybrid, Bou and Stompz, this big LP touches right onto the pulse of where the D&B scene is at the minute: long basslines, raucous atmospherics and downright dirty vibes. Bou provides that from the very start with his remix of 'Raised In The Jungle' by DJ Hybrid and MC Haribo, a full-throttled run through the Mancunian space in the Bou fashion that we all already know and love. 'Liberation' by RMS is another highlight, slightly more stripped back than some of the other offerings but still with plenty of force to go around. This is a fat release.
Review: This is a big release, both literally and metaphorically. Sitting at 58 tracks, it's clear that the Dub Damage crew wanted to pack as many of their best moments as they possible could into the album. If you're a jump-up fan, think of this as a bit like the holy grail of jump-up and the inclusion of remixes and originals from dons like Original Sin, Annix, Turno and Sub Zero cement that fact. Aside from those legends, DJ Alpha comes through with 'The Man With The Golden Gun', a riotous blend of punched out bass synths, whilst Kre & Basshoven low-key steal the show with 'Toronto Blue'. A fat album this, and a lesson in how to do compilations right.
Review: Killaz by name, killer by nature; Vital Elements and Tobie Scopes' continue to set the agenda as DJs, artists and as label owners. This third annual mix-up is certainly no exception as they plough through 59 tracks - many of which are brand new exclusives - to paint a picture of exactly where drum & bass is at right now. A thick smelly melting pot, everything is thrown into the mix: Upgrade's spine-trembling harmonics on "The Voice", ruded-out bassline badness from Voltage ("My DJ"), various jump-up hybrid creepers from Russian newcomer Ozma, brand new dark wobble lava from Serial Killaz themselves ("Rudebwoyz") the list goes on and on. This is a huge package and it comes with a superb mix too. Treat yourselves or defeat yourselves.
Review: V Recordings sublabel Chronic has developed a reputation for putting out beats that are even more venomous than its big sister, and their long-standing rollers series is getting a beef up with the fourth instalment. Featuring a litany of acts from a range of eras and a diversity of styles, Chronic Rollers Vol. 4 is a perfect addition to the arsenal of any DJ. 'Blindspot' from Nectax blends a soulful sample with an oscillating warp of juddering bass energy; Mancunian upstart SL8R gets subby and rolling with 'Roundabout'; and Brazilian label long-timers Alibi roll things out tidily on 'Sentinel'. Banging.