The shadowy figures slamming hammers and anvils on the cover (and on the individual 12-inches, as well) deliver strong hints as to the industrial-strength palette Stewart uses throughout the series: sharp edges, analog and digital squirm, and crisp, hard-hitting metallic beats are the order of the day, but Stewart runs the sounds through myriad styles throughout, though most bear audible hallmarks of classics from yesteryear. Opener "Thieves" is a minimal banger, dark and clunky and tight in its formation and execution. Flipside "New Dawn" cuts the tempo and adds a dramatic bass thump that drastically ups the factory vibes in the process, sounding something like a lost EBM classic. "Trial and Error" applies the sonic template to sleazy house, while "Only Yesterday," written in tribute to Mr. Fingers, applies Larry Heard's stripped-down acid aesthetic and magical way with a bass line in a nifty update of the "washing machine" rhythms heard on the early Trax sides. "Hunt You Down" is Basic Channel's dub banged into shape by sweaty blacksmiths, while "Momento" recalls Juan Atkins' classic Detroit motorfunk.
The sonic unity on display keeps this as coming across as a mere set of genre exercises, showcasing both Stewart's sense of history and skill at interpreting it through his own unique filter. Though ostensibly minimal techno DJ tools, Stewart's vision elevates the series to something more substantial and accomplished, with a knowing wink at the past and a long glance into the heart of modern darkness.