Terror Danjah's tunes have always been about a quick, snappy attack: bits of string sections compacted into wallops wedded with sinuous synth lines. But on Dark Crawler's title track, which appears in three different vocal versions as well as an intro and outro, everything is blown to larger-than-life proportions. Indeed, aside from the six minute epic "Reinforced," "Dark Crawler" is simultaneously the loftiest thing he's ever made and maybe the most brutal. Best of all, he doesn't lose any of his precision with the growing scale of his work.
"Dark Crawler" divides the album up into sections, and choosing a favourite version isn't easy. Riko Dan provides a bellowing dancehall take, while a trio that includes Mayhem turn it into a posse cut, but the strongest is probably Trim & Kozzie. The former's effortless flow eventually turns giddily vicious, and you can practically feel the venom escaping from their snarling mouths. Anger and destruction isn't Dark Crawler's sole mission, however. Ruby Lee Ryder delivers a tender vocal over a tense, tabla-tickled groove that has all the confidence and silk of her previous Terror collaboration "Full Attention." Meleka's previously-released "You Make Me Feel" also makes an appearance, and the hints at Terror's touted "rhythm & grime" cleanse the palate amidst all the brutish bellicosity.
The meat in between those bones is pretty delectable as well. Terror's at his most adventurous here, but his wandering mind is reined into tight constraints rather than the stylistic meandering of his first album Undeniable. He traverses full-throated funky with Champion on "Air Max 90" and Joker-style thwomp with Lex Envy on "Mirrors Edge." Most interestingly, there's a break-heavy tune "Full Hundred" that crosses a path into Ninja Tune territory but is still coated in Terror's electrified barbed wire synth sounds. There's even a bit of drum & bass: "Moschino" has elastic snares finding surprising new life in a rhythmic straitjacket.
Dark Crawler's relatively brief length stands in contrast with its mammoth predecessor. That's a good thing. Terror Danjah sounds both hungry and wizened, a producer eager to tackle new ideas but with the surety of someone who could knock out the best grime beat you've ever heard in an afternoon. At times, it's an overwhelming wave of sound that quickly washes over you in a flurry of alarm calls and shuriken percussion. But amidst all the flying debris and heart-stopping drama you have the most cohesive and powerful single statement from Terror Danjah yet.
Buy Terror Danjah - Dark Crawler at
Tracklist: Terror Danjah - Dark Crawler 01. Dark Crawler Intro
02. Mirrors Edge feat. Lex Envy
03. Dark Gremlinz feat. DOK
04. Air Max 90 feat. Champion
05. Dark Crawler feat. Riko Dan
06. Full Hundred
07. Rum Punch
08. Dark Crawler feat. Mayhem, Deadly & Saf One
09. You Make Me Feel feat. Meleka
10. Baby Oil
11. Dark Crawler feat. Trim & Kozzie
12. Delicately feat. Ruby Lee Ryder
14. Dark Crawler Outro