After 2010's Outside the Box and unabashed pop singles like "Anticipation," one might be tempted to write off Skream as a lost cause in the minds of the dubstep purists that once held him at the same level as Digital Mystikz. But with this return to his legendary Skreamizm series, Londoner Oliver Jones proves he's still got some good old-fashioned dubstep fight left in him.
Volume 6 starts off in admittedly perfunctory mode with "XMAS Day Swagger," all toxic gurglings and Skream's usual brusque snares. But as business-as-usual it is, there's an old-school restraint lacking from recent Skream outings, a feeling carried over to "Snarled," which with its demented arpeggios and strangled LFO sounds like he's dressing up some old Coki tune. Remember vocal classics like "Tapped" and "Check It?" Grime hero Trim shows up on the needly "Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-DUMB!" and rivals those genre landmarks.
Skreamizm's best moments come when Jones welds his ham-shaped fist with the fierce blank stare of yore. Layering a wailing diva vocal that's trancier than anything this side of araabMUZIK over a twitchy drum track that sounds like it's being mercilessly electrocuted by the track's jagged LFO bassline, "Indistinct" is one of his most wonderfully strange productions in years. The same goes for "Abstruse," where Jones lays down an uncharacteristically sensual, swooning beat over a whining synth riff that sounds more searching than serrated. Things wind down with "FNKONOMIKA," a downcast drum & bass tune driven by plaintive piano. That it doesn't feel like a sudden departure here proves how far Skream really has come since the Big Apple days. He might not be making the music that a lot of his old fans want him to make, but as an effortless collection like Skreamizm 6 shows, those who would like to dismiss him at this point in his career are simply mistaken.
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Tracklist: Skream - Skreamizm Vol. 6 01. XMAS Day Swagger
03. Tweedle Dee, Tweedle DUMB! feat. Trim