Caine feat. Sheryl Daneen
Angels Deserve To Die
The hardstyle viking is back with another anthem — as the name suggests, a cover of the System Of A Down hit of the same title. Caine, renowned for his brutal, raw beats, does not fail to deliver on that front, but finds a unique balance between beauty and chaos, much like the original. Sheryl Daneen does an exceptional job covering the vocal, with an angelic rendition during the break before carnage ensues. A tempo drop and rise during the second break, and a powerful melody, ensure a dancefloor hit.
'Airhead (Fracus & Darwin Remix)'
The UK hardcore legend Brisk has re-released one of his all-time biggest hits, ‘Airhead’, coming with a plethora of remixes along with remasters of the original two mixes from the '90s. My pick of the pack is the Fracus & Darwin remix: keeping all the original elements of the track intact, from intro melody to pitched vocal samples and rave pianos, they opt to simply refresh the production and bring it up to 2019. This is in no way a lazy remix, but a smart move to not try to reinvent a timeless hit.
Luca Antolini X Francesco Zeta X Steve Hill X Technikal
A true international collaboration here, as Italy meets Australia meets the UK. My fear when so many artists collab is that so many different ideas are being pushed — a track can sound a little lost, without any real identity. This is not the case here, however, as the concept of the track is very much early hardstyle, from the classic sampled vocal to the bouncy reverse bass and gated reverb kicks before the main break. Reminiscent of early Showtek work.
'ERROR' is a super fun hardstyle track from a producer steadily rising through the ranks with each release. The theme of the track is music production, featuring a cool sampled and syncopated vocal describing the classic drum machine that 'ERROR' aurally demonstrates, before switching up to a hardstyle kick and reverse bass. The main break switches the sample focus to pianos, and goes '90s house, before building to an early hardstyle melody and drop back to the kick and bass. A great party track.
'Lost In The Rhythm (Alby Loud Remix)'
A staple name in the UK hardcore scene in 2019, DJ/producer Jakka-B returns with a high BPM remix courtesy of Alby Loud. The breakdown is a dreamy affair, with bright keys lacing heavy bass drones, before the melody slowly opens up to EDM chord stabs. This then builds and drops to a thunderous kick and bass, accompanied by dubstep style blips and screeches. Rinse and repeat for the second break, but dropping with a more Euro/hardstyle influenced kick drum to take the track to the next level.
Nutty Traxx is one of the longest-running labels in the UK, focusing on the underground side of hardstyle. This latest offering from Xperior is rawstyle, verging on hardcore. The track builds modestly, before dropping disgustingly hard after the first mini break. The beats are answered by screeches, with no real musical elements present until the main break, where things get very cinematic before the main melody of the track finally drops, releasing the suspense. For me this track is like the sorely-missed downtempo hardcore previously produced by the likes of Art Of Fighters and Endymion.
This track would probably fit just as easily with the bass house reviews, with its clean production and strong percussive groove. However, with a solid four-four kick drum, classic rave stabs and breakbeat loops, this track is more than welcome here, and in many other hard dance DJs' sets. I’m anything but a genre purist, so I love to see a cross-pollination of ideas between scenes and sounds such as this.