Review: Metalheadz might be celebrating 25 years in the game in 2019, but they are not spending too much time looking back. Instead, Goldie's vital label continues to serve up forward looking drum & bass, this time from Jem One. A year after his debut on the label he's back with another varied three tracker. Form the swirling pads of liquid roller "Lotus" to the more angsty, tightly coiled drums of old school jungle cut "Transpose" and on to darkened minimal stepper "The Hardcore", there is a lot to love here.
I Adore You (feat Natalie Williams & Ulterior Motive) (6:04)
I Think Of You (7:11)
Truth (feat Jose James) (4:55)
Tu Viens Avec Moi? (8:47)
The Ballad Celeste (5:10)
This Is Not A Love Song (6:25)
The River Mirrored (5:38)
Tomorrow's Not Today (4:30)
Run Run Run (6:05)
Review: It would be fair to say that excitement has been building since Goldie announced the release of The Journey Man earlier this year. You see, the expansive, triple-vinyl full-length is the Metalheadz man's first album since 1998's patchy Saturnz Return, and is being trumpeted by those who've heard it in full as a triumphant return to form. It naturally features some sweeping, classical instrumentation, but there's nothing as self indulgent as the hour-long "Mother". Furthermore, Goldie has wisely delivered a set of high quality drum and bass that ticks numerous boxes - dancefloor darkness, jungle revivalism, liquid funk warmth - with a string of suitably impressive collaborators (Ulterior Motive, Swindle, Jose James, Natalie Williams, Terri Walker) swinging by to ensure the set oozes soul.
Review: Fresh from collaborating with Ulterior Motive and Jubei, Tyrone steps up with his first full solo EP for the label and it's yet another level up. Four hurricanes compounded in tune form, "Lunar City" rips the floor from beneath you with its booming sub and Marcus-esque raising sense of tension, "Heaton Dramaz" takes the technoid turbine factor to a whole new hair-raising level while "Warriors" kicks hard with a soundsystem vibe that hits all the spots Digital does. Finally, "Eyes" close the EP with some soul-shattering breaks and humanised textures from the stars. Massive.
Review: Ulterior Motive's recent signing to Metalheadz is clearly developing well. Hot on the heels of their "Elephant Tune" label debut comes this spooked out savage stepper. Utilising a classic two chord swoon, it's an instant trip to the furthest realms of space with nothing but an iPod full of classic jungle to accompany you. "Forgiven" is equally as brutal; distorted bass and rusted amens lead the charge before Peta Oneir's vocal takes over the mix with Lamb-like presence. Essential.
Review: Nurtured by industrial strength D&B brand Renegade Hardware, Friske has been setting his tech agenda for many years now. Here he makes his debut on Metalheadz with two contrasting compositions that showcase his repertoire neatly. "Covert" is as hard-nosed as it gets; slamming steppy beats, warped hoover screams and grizzling, processed elements, it fits Metalheadz well defined sonic remit like a snug gauntlet. "Venture", meanwhile, comes with wafts of cool soul thanks to its washing pads. Don't go thinking it's a slow and sexy jam, though; there's still plenty of beef in the undulating subs and chiseled drum arrangement. Heavy.
Review: Prague-based producer Rido gets the full Metalheadz treatment, and he's cooked a serious beat feast to celebrate. The title track comes straight outta Planet Sci-Fi, all alien grizzles and cinematic string power. "Back To The Future" comes armed with some of the most touching D&B piano work this side of Calibre's studio. "Cockroach Funk" is an angular stop/start stutter jam with Codebreaker MC's vocals cutting through with venomous clarity and "They Think That" completes the set with a cheeky blend of Hollywood strings and Alexander O'Neil. Yup, you read that right... This needs attention!
Review: Om Unit is killing it right now. Whether he's mesmerising minds at the 80/160 axis or ripping out full-on audio attacks, his sonic execution is spotless. "Sleepwalkers" pays homage to the uncompromising Metalheadz motifs; all icy riddims and metallic bass. "Grey Skies Over Chicago" is a deeper vibe; ethereal synths moan and cry of a bed of tightly diced breaks and subtle, star-gazing arpeggios. "The Hand" completes the set on a more frenetic note; the drums are skittish, barely tamed by the faraway, naval-gazing synths and psychedelic flourishes. Each track a true treat, you won't be sleepwalking to this... You'll be sleepraving!
Review: Identified by GQ's Emcee Recordings many years ago, Jubei's been contributing to drum & bass with consistency and icy, industrial strength confidence since 2006. Repping on Metalheadz since 2010, a debut album has been long overdue... Naturally he's not disappointed. Here are selected highlights spread neatly across three 12"s. Ranging from the almost cosmic, far-gazing fusion of the Goldie co-lab "The Prayer" to the minimal dub-tech of "Neon Eyes" via the mournful soulful yearning of "Incognito", each track reps Jubei at his brightest, boldest and baddest. Essential for all D&B heads.
Review: Metalheadz aren't known for their vocal smashers. But they are known for flipping the biggest switches in the game. And this collaboration between Italy's ARP XP and Poland's Reza is a fine example... "No Control" oozes post modern, paranoid soul as Kayka soars over the dreamy piano echoes and sharp steppy beats with the same level as Riya. Vocalist compliments don't come any higher. "Unknown Feelings" also incorporates a breath-taking vocal but here the focus has been shifted more towards the deep bass drones, stark, alien sound design and heavyweight kicks that Metalheadz is very well known for. An absolute gem of a 12", take control today.
Review: The latest Limited Edition 12" from the Metalheadz camp sees Astrophonica's Fracture step up to the plate in killer fashion with the future thinking double drop "Better than Tomorrow", and "Gangbusters". If you've been following the Astrophonica label then you'll agree that such an honour is fully deserved for Fracture and these two tracks lead Metalheadz boss man Goldie to proclaim the following upon checking them on a long haul flight down under: "I'm pulling out my teeth wanting to beat the guy next to me with a Snare and 10" dubplate !!!! This is one of the most original things I've heard in a long while! I HAVE to have this on Headz!!" What more justification do you need?
Review: Metalheadz are on fire this year! Hot on the heels of Ulterior Motive's genre-busting elephantine EP comes this astonishingly beautiful roller from Lenzman. With big splashing cymbals on the breakbeats, taught string rises and a breathy vocal sample, it's Lenzman at his very best: vibrant but carefully underplayed. For extra soul flourishes, head for Makoto's remix of "Broken Dreams". Close your eyes and you could well be in-tune to an Innerground release. Big salute to all players involved.
Review: Appearances by D Bridge on Metalheadz come few and far between, but this time Darren White has a whole 12" to himself, over which to stretch his soulful take on D&B. A-Side "The Little Things" fits and starts with its clean beats and smooth pads, keeping things thoroughly linear and emotive for those more sensitive moments in the dance. Things get rougher on "Cornered" as a cheeky drum break ups the ante while the bass comes in growling and submerged. As ever the production is flawless, and with two diverse tracks to choose from there's plenty to get out of nabbing this release.
Review: Despite releasing enough singles to fill a small set of IKEA Expedit shelves, Cambridge D&B duo Commix have been pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to albums. So far, they've only released one original full-length, Call To Mind - a pleasing set that won many plaudits on its release in 2007. Curiously, this second full-length is not a new album per se, but rather a collection of previously unreleased cuts recorded between 2003 and 2008. It is, though, a rather fine set, perfectly showcasing their brand of melodic, musically inclined drum and bass. As ever, the beats are loose, organic and snare heavy, the basslines hooky and the melodies sparkling, offering a near perfect balance of dancefloor chops and home listening nous. Fans will lap it up.
Review: Despite releasing enough singles to fill a small set of IKEA Expedit shelves, Cambridge D&B duo Commix have been pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to albums. So far, they've only released one original full-length, Call To Mind - a pleasing set that won many plaudits on its release in 2007. Curiously, this second full-length is not a new album per se, but rather a collection of previously unreleased cuts recorded between 2003 and 2008. It is, though, a superb set, perfectly showcasing their brand of melodic, musically inclined drum and bass. As ever, the beats are loose, organic and snare heavy, the basslines hooky and the melodies sparkling, offering a near perfect balance of dancefloor chops and home listening nous. Highly recommended.
Review: Widely regarded in the D&B scene as the "new Marka", Jubei's next single on Metalheadz certainly is something special. Featuring the lyrical prowess of Flowdan, the track centres around a terrifying, turbo-charged bassline and razor-sharp, snapping breaks with eerie, metallic SFX coming in and out of focus in the distance. The raw, aggressive, streetwise vocal packs a punch and accentuates all the individual elements of the track, calling "heartless / cold blooded / hungry..." The whole track is rife with tension, aggression, menace and emotion. Check the video for a great visual portrayal of the piece.
Review: Utopia bossman Mako steps up with three outrageously on-point cuts for the Metalheadz label. Each one slapping a different cheek of the dancefloor, we're flung from tearingly ugly rollers like "The Gully" to unique broken beat/jungle hybridisms on "Ju Ken" which comes with added input from the man like Throwing Snow featured. The main draw, however, will be "Tell Me Something" which sees Mako team up with Detail. Lush sense-popping synths blast spine-chilling chords and deep bass gurgles in every direction as it runs amok on a meticulous drum arrangement that never sits still. The truth is out there for those that seek it.
Review: Dutch drum & bass dynamo Lenzman finally hits album status with this immaculate collection on Metalheadz. You should all be aware of his abilities by now - deep, emotional, delicate yet bolstered with big production, he treads the line between liquid and lava with ease. Highlights can be found by the bus-load across the 17 tracks, but if you were to force us to pick favourites, the jazz-stroked "Just Can't Take" with DRS, the wistful pianos and far-away vocal command of Martyna Baker on "Paper Faces" and the darker, devious roller "Private Eye" would definitely be top of the pile. And that's just three of many, many incredible cuts. To put it simply, Looking At The Stars has drum & bass album of the year written all over it. Essential.
Review: Ever since his emergence back in 2007, Dutch producer Teije van Vliet has been working hard to provide Drum & bass with fresh, sparkling rollers blessed with that all important dark and dirty undercurrent as Lenzman. Given his prolific nature, it's surprising there hasn't been a Lenzman long player before now, so kudos to Metalheadz for ensnaring van Vliet in his Leiden studio long enough for him to lay down Looking At The Stars. This double plated vinyl version only holds four of the 17 tracks you'll find on the CD or digital edition but they are all certified rollers that will certainly pique the fancy of interested parties. The laidback delivery of DRS is the perfect foil for the smooth "Just Can't Take" whilst "Burner" delivers one of those deep basslines Lenzman produces so well. Grip the second plate and the Kevin King featuring Starz is the Dutchman in ascendant form, rubbing up nicely with the moody half stepper "Move & Focus
Review: OOOF! Metalheadz come through with two absolutely brutal VIP versions of Dom & Roland cuts, pressed up JA style on 7" for proper dancehall selectors! First up is a VIP of "Unofficial Jah" last year's refix of Goldie's "Jah" by Dom which went down a hellish 2 step route to devastating effect; this new version amps up the sub pressure, weighs down those kicks and adds plenty of delay and dub. Any Metalheadz fam that locked into the label's Christmas podcast last year will know all about the "Outta Endz" VIP on the flip which is a masterpiece in unrelenting Jungle production. Do not sleep!