Regarded by some as one of the first drum'n'bass labels, Metalheadz' label focused MDZ series is now in its fourth volume. As with all label samplers, the compilation focuses on the latest tunes the label has to offer, and Metalheadz strives to stay in touch with trends and offers tunes from the likes of established artists like Photek as well as up and coming producers.
Selected by Andy C for curtains on his recent Nightlife 2 mix, Photek's Age Of Empires is now the opener for the mix CD. The ancient Egyptian melodic hook (which sounds like it's been lifted off a movie) and buzzing synth bassline set a dark tone for the CD, backed up by adrenalin charged drum beats.
Seba & Lenk provide the only vocal tune for the CD - 16 Stories featuring an exhausted Robert Manos on vocals (his puffing vocal sounds like he's been running just before doing the tune). The tune features intelligent drum patterns which keep the listener guessing as to what drum fill and break is going to be used next. This leads in nicely to Keaton & Hive's remix of Loxy & J Dub's Twisted 3rd Mind - dropping a grimey bass line, aggressive drum breaks and sinister soundtrack samples.
Tingz by Gremlinz & Stranjah offers up a quirky, high-pitched percussive break, chopped up vocal stabs and drawn out sweeps concentrating a bit more on the drum than the bass. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the bass heavy Secret Fire by K.O.T.P, who twist and morph a bassline to give it the effect of being three different bass noises. This leads to even more bassline action with Defcon 69 by Total Science, the only tune on the compilation which is exclusive to the mix CD.
Finally, the CD closes out with Leon Switch & Kryptic Minds' The King - a tune which chops up old skool hip hop vocals (namely proclaiming two words - "THE KING") and lays the mess down on a dark beat and filthy bassline. Probably the only tune on the CD which wouldn't sound out of place in an early 90's gangster movie.
MDZ 04 is 12 tracks of hard drum'n'bass, however I do have a feeling that they're overlooking musicality in their tunes in some cases - monotonic basslines can start to get a little boring at times however they did seem to sort out bigger and badder basslines towards the end. Throw in some melody and this could easily be one of the must have drum'n'bass albums for 2005. For those who just love drum'n'bass, especially of the tear-out kind, and couldn't give a damn what I say, this is for you!
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