Review: From the holy to the moly with all levels of WTF and crikey along the way; Gradient have just levelled up with this turbo-charged VA that celebrates how exciting the new generation of drum & bass is right now. So many talents, not enough time or space to list; just press play, dig deep and you'll find untold bangers for days. From Harley D to Warhead to Amplify via Nick The Lot, Jenks, Scurrow, Flint, Fanatics and the bossman Metal Work, this is a huge collection that's right on the cutting edge of the club D&B sound. Fusing elements of jump-up, tech and good old fashioned dancefloor bangers, these are the sturdiest foundations from which future careers will be built on.
Review: Taking D&B to a molecular level, Manchester's Kormz gets scientific on this seismic six pack Gradient debut. Featuring collabs with the likes of Noxxic and StillZ, the vibes are hard, high and heavy as we run through the full Kormz gamut: the 23rd century fast lane hype of 'Collapse', the greasy industrial strength funk of 'Molecule' and the full-strength emotional drive of 'Impurity' are just some of the highlights on this massive EP.
Review: Pow! Right in the kisser! You spend your days checking Sub-liminal releases waiting for a new Agro dispatch and he creeps up behind you with a massive collabo-fest on Gradient! Didn't see this coming... But with tunes as power as the sizzling, menacing 'If You Wanna Be A Killer' and the slap happy 'Exhibit A', you could certainly hear them rumbling down the street a mile off. Complete with crucial link-ups with the likes of good mates Amplify, Too Greezey and JTR, this is an absolute madness. Agro by name, banger machine by nature.
Review: Stillz returns to Gradient with one of his biggest EPs so far. Paying tribute to all the sesh fallen soldiers, the title track pays homage to all those crews who can't find a lighter when they get home for the afters as Stillz and Nick The Lot go full ploughman with the kicks and glitches. Five more fire-ups follow, each one as hearty and heavy. Highlights include the Gino-level slams and slaps of 'Autopilot', the tense eeriness and raw energy of the drop on 'Defect' and the playful horn action of 'Jazz Music'. Rest in peace to all the lost lighters.
Review: Norwich maestro Banzai continues to whip up storms, this time on Gradient with two absolute howler riddims. 'Javelin' throws you full force into the mix as Indigo dusts of some spiky bars hurling himself on either side of the stripped back groove and tick-tock style bass lick. 'Multiply' reminds us of Banzai's more full force nature as with epic reese basses and a widescreen style that wouldn't have gone amiss on Ram back in 2010. Monster music.
Review: Power up! Gradient bossman Metal Work continues to showcase his D&B dexterity with his debut album. 14 tracks in total, each one revealing more shades to his uncompromising, and forward-thinking palette, highlights include the paranoid sci-fi punkisms of 'Don't Wanna', the barbed soul and deep space bubbles of 'Face My Fears', the warped and warm 'Moonlight' and the aggy, twisted shock-out 'Punched' with fellow Gradient groover Amplify. But don't stop there; these highlights aren't even the tip of this heavy metal iceberg, this is a seriously accomplished debut album from one of the new generations hardest working and talented souls. Shower in power!
Review: Celebrating a year of killer underground releases, Metal Work and Amplify's Gradient label serve up 'Momentum', a collection of crisp cuts from some of their nearest, dearest and all-time sickest. Agro takes the lead with 'Blartoon', a bruisy, woozy cut with a real knuckle scuffing bassline. It's backed up by a whole host of fire riddims: Breakout & Steryx's 'Antidote' is all about the haunting grimey harmonics, Flint gets sexy with the off-beat happy-slappy wonkathon 'Lap Dance', Master Error & Natrix's 'Oblivion' makes those high-frequencies trills growl like lions on helium, Pengo's 'Don't Give Up The Fight' is all about the lazer blast one-note bassline riff while Stillz brings the fear and furore on the tense and creepy 'Area 41'. Keep the momentum going!
Review: Burgling ain't easy! Neither is production for that matter, but Nick The Lot is very good at both and luckily he spends a lot more time in the studio than he does 'Gliding Through' your living room window these days, pinching your xBox. But if he did, this would be the soundtrack; a fun and funky sextet of filthy funk-ups ranging from the gritty bulbous bass and Hazard-like Q&A on the title track, to the epic jungle fills on 'There's Something' by way of the ultra-scattiness of 'Med Kit' and the icy glaciers of 'Alien Vessel'. Open wide, let's glide...
Review: Devon don Amplify continues his epic vein of form this year with another major league EP, this time on his own Gradient imprint. Following his recent 'Amplify & Friends' EP, it's loaded with a whole gaggle of collabos including Master Error, D-Fuser and Clarkey as he works us through our paces with his grotty, riffy bass hooks and wry sense of funk. Greeze by name, greasy by nature; 'Problems' oozes oily soul with its preacher sample and melting horn bass tones, 'Deadman' writhes in the warped bassline mud while 'Soundboy' (with mic-man Stytchd) is pure sleaze and swagger. These are just some of the highlights. Grease up and get some.
Review: Previously spotted on Gradient collaborating with the co-bossman Amplify, plus recent releases on the likes of Dub Damage, OYO, Good4Nothing and Subwave this year, Fanatics steps up once again with one of his biggest EPs so far. Six tracks deep, 'Turn That Heat' showcases the Belgian's widest range. Highlights include the Need For Mirrors-style 'Emphysema', the gutter-bound wobbles and trippy gurgles of 'Scattering' and the sensual finger-clicking jazziness of the title track. Hot... And that's only half of what's cooking here. Get fanatical about Fanatics today.
Review: The super prolific Master Error returns with more masterplans, this time on Gradient. As the title suggests, there's a strong game of balance here as we veer and steer between bonkers and pure grot. On the bonkers side we have scatty riffs like that of 'Just A Game', the much deeper, twisted faraway soul of 'Need You' while on the grot side we have the disgusting title track, the rusty Cortina starter engine funk of 'Why Waste Time' (with Flint), the laser blazing craziness of 'Who You Messin With' (with Gino) and the corroded toot toots of 'Magenta'. Terroriffic.
Review: The clock is ticking. You have 10 seconds to deactivate these bombs or else they'll explode all over your face and ears. There's only one man who can help; D-Fuser, a young south UK artist who's been lurking in the Gradient shadows on a few V/A releases and now levelled up with his debut artist EP for Amplify & Metalwork's label. Six tracks in total, flexing from the sunny-side skanks and soundsystem roughage of 'Dreadlock' to the classic mid 2000s style jump up flavours of 'Wanting You' via the stripped back jackhammer that is 'Killer' (with Pengo), the whole EP will stop you worrying about which wire to cut and instead get you wondering which ear you'd like these bombs to explode in. Badness.
Review: As if firing out badness galore through their 'Connected' series wasn't quite enough action for a label that's barely been around 6 months, Amplify and Metal Work's Gradient levels up again with the massive 'Foundations' VA that's stacked to the top shelf with some of drum & bass music's finest upstarts and high risers. 15 tracks deep, highlights come in all shapes and sizes including the sensual textures and tones of D-Fuser's 'Sticky Situations', the madcap jazzy springs and splutters of Fanatics' 'Everyday', KL's revved up staccato sizzler 'Plain To See', Metal Work's rather glacial 'Cold As Ice' and Parallel's early D-Minds style 'Capital Crimes'. Killer through and through, 'Foundations' as strong as this are built to last.
Review: Gradient continue their upward curve with the latest link-up in their 'Connected' series as two more currently unstoppable new gen artists collide for a two-track tear-up. Klay kicks off the release with the grotty, spiked-out 'Yami'. Nodding heavily at that early Konichi sound, all robotic gritty funkular business, it bites into any mix you drop it with. Metal Work's 'Mega Punch' is similarly spirited in its aggy energy but with added wobbles in the bass and twisted robo vox on the fills. It's a knock-out!
Review: The so-far-unmissable releases of Amplify & Metalwork's Gradient imprint continue into the new year with this gunslinging danger doublet. Amplify takes the lead with his first appearance on the label - the roughhouse gritty funk of 'Bank'. Meanwhile Fanatics gets us all grizzled out with the savage sounding 'Wounds'. Proper bare naked bassline business with some very interesting trippy sounds woven into the mix, like the rest of his peers on Gradient, Fanatics is developing a unique and exciting sound. Get connected.
Review: One more Toon! Gradient head north for their second release as young Newcastle guns go toe-to-toe on this gut-crippling double A. Both tracks packing punches like the clubs never closed down, it's impossible to pick a favourite. Do you go for the one-fingered salute, heads-drown drive and twisted harmonics of Hexa's 'Distance'? Or do you go for the full-on grunt and thrust and heavenly pads midway on KL's 'Game Changer'? Either way, you're going to cause serious damage. Stay connected.
Review: Brand new from Metal Work and Amplify, Gradient is a platform right at the future cusp of drum & bass and it's just levelled up with its first official release. 'Connected' marks the start of a series that brings some of the most exciting new-gen artists together. First up: two crucial groaners from UK's Jando and Germany's Cramz. 'Drop Top' kicks off with a two-tone bassline that scorches and grizzles on the top and hums with low subby pressure on the bottom while 'Run Riddim' attacks with a spikier, dramatic staccato approach. Vicious, tense and full of the dark energy we need to get through this bleak winter, Gradient are an essential new label to keep very close tabs on. Get connected.