Review: Released last year after a long lockdown incubation, Scar's third album Road Less Travelled was one of Metalheadz most notable LPs in recent times, proving once again that Survival and Script are an certified album act who can whip up epic narratives without losing any dancefloor punch. Here they remind us once again with a series of VIPs from themselves and friends such as Zero T and Nookie. Highlights include the sweeping thunderous sub on 'Losing Your Mind', the slippery, bad ass space funk twist on the VIP of 'Conductor' and Artificial Intelligence's creepy flip of 'Caterpillar'. Keep it scenic.
Review: The ever-inspiring Gyrofield makes her debut on the might Headz with two heavyweight slabs of ice cold breakbeat soul. Following massive dispatches on Vision and Deadbeats already this year, once again she flips the switch and shows another side to her sound. 'Maybes' has a dreamy, gentle quality to it while still grizzling with a foreboding tension underneath. 'Oligarch' meanwhile hits with even more subversiveness as jazzy notes fly around the mix over a spacious, glitchy groove. Both tracks smoulder with Metalheadz tension and atmosphere but neither rely on any of the label's usual motifs. A huge look for both artist and label. Essential.
Review: Finally! Over 20 years have passed since their last original dispatches but Nathan Haines and A-Sides' Sci-Clone project returns to Metalheadz with its unique fusion of jazz, drum & bass and pure electronic soul and the wait has most definitely been worth it. From the sparkling, cosmic fluctuations and shimmers of 'Boss' to the smooth rare groove / jazz funk feels of the current single 'Upper Harbour Highway' to the rainbow funk and slinky bassline of 'Whole Half', this is truly one-of-a-kind alchemy that wouldn't be at home anywhere else than Goldie's label. Timeless.
Review: Between the years of 97 - 2001, D&B pioneer A-Sides and respected jazz musician, producer and saxophonist Nathan Haines made drum & bass history as one of the key acts to really fuse and smelt down the essence and soul of jazz and the futurist aesthetic of D&B into something unique and a style of its own. Happening around the same time Giles Peterson had a lot of D&B on Talkin Loud and the Full Cycle and V crews were doing their own jazzy thing, Sci-Clone really caught a moment in time and joined dots that have remained explicitly joined ever since. Some of these tracks now date up to 25 years old but still sound inherently future. And if you like these, then wait until you hear Nathan and A-Sides' new material! Welcome back Sci-Clone!
Review: Black Barrel's been a busy boi! Currently flexing on Dispatch and Headz, not to mention his hyperactive Leo Cap dubstep alias, this man's a machine and has been for some years now. The best thing is that the quality is always consistent. Four more cases in point: the hurricane soul and eerie emotion of 'Side That You Can't Hide', the rattling airy drums and subtle rave references of 'Love Line', the deep smouldering soul of 'New Era' and the timeless Soul:r style finale 'One Day'. There's no hiding from vibes like these.
Review: In the seventh installment of Metalheadz' '25 Years Of' celebration series, SB81 (Shaun Bateman) takes the spotlight with two exceptional tracks that are given a well-deserved retrospective. The first, a collaboration with Goldie called 'Rockstar 81', boasts dirty reese basslines and expertly swung breaks that make for a weighty mix capable of shaking even the stars from their orbits. The second track, 'Lights Out', features Reese buzzes and straighter beats interwoven with dreamy synths, resulting in a mesmerizing soundscape that will leave listeners spellbound.
Review: Finland representing! Renowned and highly respected breakbeat craftsman Fanu returns to Metalheadz with five deliciously headsy cuts. 'Headgames' eases us in slowly with mystical chords and a mid-tempo energy before the Lightless Recordings bossman hurls us into the heavy stuff with cuts such as the savage (and brilliantly titled) 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Pain', the rolling jungle feels of 'I'll Be In The Shadows' and the brutalist 'Bliss-Torture'. Last but definitely not least 'No Horizon' brings us home on massive drum funk vibe. Pure percussion precision; no one weaves dark magic like Fanu!
Review: Following his recent slew of slap-abouts on Requisite Music, man like Friske returns to the Metalheadz mothership with 'Supplier'. Five cuts deep, each one charging us into the future with hands off the wheel and no seatbelt on, 'Supplier' sees Friske tapping into his Renegade Hardware roots with uncompromised and unabashed technoid fusion. Highlights include the deep space bass and industrial drums of the title track, the jazzier introspection of 'Street Lights' and the brain melting drum science of 'Fall Back'. Take it higher with 'Supplier'
Review: Do us a favour plug us into a Zega... The man, the myth, the dubstep don, J:Kenzo lands on Metalheadz and not one of us are surprised... He's been teasing us with his D&B appreciation and craftsmanship on his radio shows and through releases on the likes of 31 for some time now. Naturally this is the summit of his 170 explorations so far and it's an exhilarating peak. Highlights include the glacial tension and rolling drum thunder of 'Tiger Moth' and the stripped-back curmudgeonly grizzles of 'An Uncharted Vision' but the whole EP is pure ice. What a crucial way to kick off a new year.
Review: Following massive albums 'Orkyd Project' and 'High Fives & Devil Eyes', Script and Survival return with their third LP and it's an absolute hoot. Maintaining their high benchmark for journey-like experiences that are rich in emotion and soaked in big references that celebrate the last 30 years of D&B culture, 'The Road Less Travelled' is a whirlwind trip around some of the most exciting and uncompromising corners of drum & bass. 'Caterpillar' doffs its cap to Virus, 'Bravo Tango' is all about the big old bruising classic Bristol sound while 'Santa Cruz' winks saucily at movements like Creative Source... these are just three examples. Complete with a range of interesting and experimental skit-like shorts, there's a real flow and timeless feel to this. The way an album should be!
Review: Having appearing on their line-ups and various sublabels, Toronto tear-up artist Peter NC-17 finally gets his full Headz debut with 'State Of Grace', an uncompromising four-piece that leaves no stone unturned and pulls no punches. The title track says it all with its savage riff and rattling techno-like drums. Deeper into the EP we hit pure drumfunk magic on 'Jimmy The Great', we go full heads-down mode on 'Act Of Rage' and Christmas comes early with the pure drama of 'Santa Sangre'. Gracefully aggressive.
Review: There's a time to live, a time to die and a time to drop some insane science on the dancefloor courtesy of some of the most consistent and dedicated breaksmiths of the game; Ink, Loxy and Resound. Three cuts, each from a different combo... Loxy and Ink set the scene with the ice cold 'Irrelevant' before Resound joins the fray for the haunted creeper 'Token'. For added funk and good gully measure, Ink's crucial 'Mahogany Jazz' is also included on this heavyweight EP. Massive.
Review: Having previously released on the likes of Icarus Audio, P Lab and Subplate, Aussie artist Jaise levels up with this massive debut on Metalheadz. Hitting the label spot perfectly with a precision balance of soul, emotion and hardcore futurism, the drama is palpable from the off as the chords ease us into submission on 'Backwards Step' before 'In Conversation' takes us into cinematic overload. Deeper into the EP we glide to hit the ravy stabs and cataclysmic pressure of the title track 'The Client' before 'Delete Completed' closes the EP with vast swathes of tension. What a label debut!
Review: In case you're new to this drum & bass malarky, or you've been asleep for the last 30 years, when it comes to D&B albums then Metalheadz is one of the best. Dealing strictly in journeys, adventures and detailed peaks into the artists' psyche, they're built to last and work well on both dancefloors and on headphones / at home. Take Phase's long-awaited debut here. Following opuses from the like of Mikal, Blocks & Escher and Agzilla, the Belgian talent whips up a creative storm that ranges from the hard rave KOs of 'Stress Out' to the wonderful ambient bliss of 'Flowstone' and back again. Essential.