Review: Metalheadz are on devastating form right now and they happily slam down the gauntlet with this superb EP. Continuing in the same vein as the previous "Genesis" instalments they present a selection of fresh, upfront drum and bass which simply refuses to adhere to any template. The much heralded Need For Mirrors kick proceedings off with the deadly "Lofar" which sets the tone perfectly before Dutch maestro Nymfo follows with the dark stepper "Conscious Minds". Mikal's "Epic" is the standout track here, a pure streamlined aural assault and finally Critical Impact & Komonazmuk wheel out the Amens on the seriously heavy "Translation".
Review: Twisted's Grid launches a new series dedicated to the deeper, introspective moments in life with five seriously respected artists at the dials. DJ Limited continues to show how versatile he is with the clanking, wobbling, slurring "To Be The First", man of the moment Need For Mirrors gets his slinky step on with "Such A Thing" while Damage Report gets his dancehall neck brace on with the hardest, snare-snapping jam of the set "Took You So Long". Elsewhere Dexcell add pace and grit to Mutated Forms' space-hopping bleep shock out "Duct Tape" and Raz brings down the curtains with a hurricane snare rattler that's laced with bone-chilling textures and rises. One for the heads...
Review: Playaz just keep on bringing the mayhem and the fourth installment of the already epic "Flavours EP" is no exception to the rule. Compiled of six superlative bangers from artists as wide ranging as Majistrate, Shimah, Optiv & BTK, Annix, Potential Badboy and Need For Mirrors, variety is the spice of life here. First up is "Losing Control (feat. Alicia King)" by Majistrate which ups the raw, rugged jump up flavours with jarring metallic synth work; next we have Shimah's "Shadow Of The Ba" with its uplifting trance-like synths and tense, ticking patterns. Then onwards through Optiv & BTK's "Feelings" it's a neuro-infused ruckus until we reach Annix's "Late Maoeuvere". Potential Badboy is up to his usual tricks in his VIP of "Sound A Sound" before Need For Mirrors bring the EP to a classy close in the rolling "Albatross".
Review: In manner of "New Blood, "Critical Sound" and so on, Horizons comes up with a various artists compilation showcasing the fresh new up-and-coming talent on their label. Whilst some names such as June Miller, Cause 4 Concern, Data and Spinline, others may not. Highlights from across the selection include Cause 4 Concerns murky, moody roller "Under Forever", Amoss' "We All Grow" with its politicized lyrics and warping dubbed out b-line and fidgety Rockwell-esque edits and Data's opening cut "Formless", with its clicking beats and growling b-line. A nice taster of what we can expect from Horizons in the future.
Review: Three years have passed since Horizon last rallied up the troops and embarked on a dead-night brain-burgling Dreamthief parade. As always it's an all-star cast with the likes of Amoss, Break, Naibu, Digital, Mikal, Mako, Need For Mirrors and many more cooking up some of their starkest, uncompromised and innovative cuts: the tight conga hypnosis of Breaks "Headway", the turbo piano rolls of Invaderz "Dukes Drift", the sublime cinematic jazz soul of Hydro & War's "Jam", the cascading, twinkling textures of Naibu's "Time Out", the neck-snap amen mechanica of Digital's "Spark Cut"... If this is the soundtrack to our innermost stories being syphoned from our heads at our most vulnerable sleeping states then sign us up and take the lot. Sweet dreams of thieved of this.
Review: Most labels celebrate their 50th or 100th release but Fokuz have never done things by convention, which is what's made them such a unique success story in drum & bass for 17 years. Here we find them celebrating their 80th release (and neatly referencing the work of Quentin Tarantino) with their biggest project to date that stretches two albums, over 30 tracks and some of the biggest names in D&B: Break, Calibre, Technimatic, BCee, Need For Mirrors, the list goes on. If you know Fokuz's output you'll already be on this. If you don't, just jump on the velvet sub rolls of Calibre's remix of Impish, Lenzman's hurricane soul twist of Random Movement or Dreazz & Stal's percussive frenzy "Ethiopian Jungle" and you'll know exactly what's going on right here.
Review: If your immediate reaction to the news that Horizons have released a 17-track behemoth to celebrate their tenth year in existence wasn't total joy and amazement, you might not have a pulse. As a heavyweight label at the centre of the darker end of the scene, this LP has attracted mainstay names to come and show support, resulting in the most enviable roll call of the year. Kicking off with Break, artists as diverse and as legendary as Mako & Hydro, DLR, Need For Mirrors, Skitty and NickBee all come forth to spread the deep, dark, and at times industrial, love.
Review: Whether you've been following the artistry of Horizons Music's endless supply of incredible artists for years or you're new to its way of running things, this selection of the freshest 2014 cuts is going to float your boat. Featuring lush tones from Calibre and Grimm, pared-back ferocity from Digital and huge underground anthems like "Nevada Ghost" and "Half Truth" coming from Cern and Overlook and need For Mirrors, Dabs and HLC, it's hard to believe this much came from just 12 months. Not only that, but it emanated from just one label powerhouse. Horizons, we salute you.
Review: We probably don't need to convince you of the quality of this LP, since Horizons have been calmly showing everyone how things should be done with their Dreamthief series since 2008. Pitching together to create one mindblowing collection of tunes, the likes of Gremlinz, Nitri & Release, Need For Mirrors, NickBee and Utopia Music's own Mako bring the vibes in strong. Need we go on? Not really. Should you buy this album? Almost definitely.
Review: Shogun Audio don their shades and stare into the blisteringly bright future of drum & bass with a brand new series; Point Of Origin. The idea is to represent some of the most exciting names (old and new) with an open mind to the many sub-sub-genres drum & bass seems to have right now. As a result we excitingly flicker from lush emotional jazz (Ed:It's "Centre Suite") to unruly sheet metal neuro in the space of a track (Posij - "Shieldbreaker"). Much deeper into the set we hit icy vocal soul from the likes of Need For Mirrors and Liz-E, we get flattened by Zero T's tribal thunder drums and experience a blissful rolling lullaby from Karma. This is the tip of the Point Of Origin iceberg, though... A must-check for all future-focussed junglists.
Review: Someone call the fire brigade please, Bryan Gee's V camp is literally on fire right now. If it's not the massive tracks coming from the now 26 year old V flagship imprint, it's this stunning collection of remixes from the collective's soulful arm of operations Liquid V. Digging deep into the vaults, there's some immaculate refixes on display... L-Side's midas touch continues to sparkle with his rumbling switch-up of "Try To Understand", Need For Mirrors' own wobbly-bottomed relick of "Son Of Sorrow" does absolute damage and the VIP of Cater & Paul SG's "Jazz Cigarette" will blast your wig off with its crisp horns and cosmic vibraphone flurries. And that's just the tip of liquid iceberg. Get in shape yo!