Ben Nicky & Mashd N Kutcher
Like Fire (feat Luciana)
Ironic that the hard track of the month is a collaboration between artists you might not primarily associate with this page, but trust, this track is hardstyle through and through, and one of the best tunes I’ve heard in some time. Clocking in at 150BPM, the breakdown offers a beautiful and catchy vocal, building into an EDM style melody top line. Following this, the track drops to a cool touch — a tech hardstyle kick for eight bars, before switching up to a psy style rolling bassline which literally never fails to get a roar from the crowd. Rinse and repeat a second time with even more intensity.
Newly signed Dirty Workz artist Betavoice is back with a bouncy, fun track, continuing to build the hype behind his name on the scene. 'Bass Drum' certainly focuses on high energy, with a cutting-edge powerful kick backed up by a subtle off-bass, giving the tune a real feel of movement. The breakdown offers a light-hearted melody, with short stabby notation adding to the drive.
'Be The One (Macks Wolf Remix)'
Who’s Afraid of 138?
Chilean hardstyle producer Stormerz drafted in UK rising star Macks Wolf for the remix on this one, and he does not disappoint. Macks was initially known for his UK hardcore productions, but 2019 has seen him spread his wings and produce some of the biggest hardstyle tracks in my set also. This I would primarily consider a hardstyle rework, but with some interesting production and arrangement, such as a lowpass filtered reverse bass on the main drop as opposed to the traditional ‘dong’ kicks, which make this a refreshing listen that works equally great on dancefloors.
'Flashback feat Tara Louise'
Korean hardstyle DJ Hpnotic has had a real explosion in profile since relocating to LA and focusing on her production. This latest track, 'Flashback', is a vocal hardstyle affair. I always appreciate focused tunes, and this is a great example — it’s one-dimensional in a very good way. It doesn’t try and be something for everyone, but has a distinct style and vibe which is constant throughout, and is refreshing to listen to in an era when even the most euphoric hardstyle tracks are chasing the raw sound closely. Be sure to check this beautiful track out.
'Jetlag (Ben Gold & Allen Watts Remix)'
Who’s Afraid of 138?
Apologies in advance if this should be in the trance section, but the original was a huge anthem in the hard scene, and this remix is tough enough to play in my sets. For those who don’t remember the original mix from the 2000s, it was a timeless crossover track with one of the best uplifting melodies ever. Having not been touched by any one for so long now, this tough tech trancer feels like a fresh anthem for 2019 all over again.
The Machine & Alphaverb
A real clash of styles on this one. Sometimes this type of collaboration can feel like a battle of who can impose their style the most, but 'Lazerbeams' is one of those occasions when both artists complement each other and produce something beautifully original. Cold and hard kicks are contrasted by powerful melodies, and the whole track has a feel of spaciousness. Thick reverbs fill the sonic landscape, without the need for anything more than the key elements of the track to feel complete.
'Light (Adaro & Hard Driver Remix)'
I’m not sure of the release situation of this track at the time of writing, but it’s certainly worth bringing to your attention regardless. You’ll be familiar with the original here: the beautiful vocal and slightly sinister atmosphere have been captured with bigger and more dramatic builds. The drop unleashes the trademark hard beats of the two remixers in triplet form first, then following the second break, an even bigger build drops four-four, adding more energy. Fingers crossed for an official release by the time you’re reading this.