Terror Danjahs second Hyperdub album is Dark Crawler, a well paced and much more upfront and energetic journey through his musical world than his debut Undeniable. The album revolves around the Dark Crawler theme, a blistering Grime track that pops up several times vocaled by MCs Riko Dan, Mayhem, Deadly and Saf One, and then lastly Trim and Kossie.
That's not to say the album is one dimensional or relentless. It's subtley balanced with the Dark Crawler thread of tracks allowing the album to spin off in a web of directions without losing any focus. It's a much more contained body of work, paced to keep the listeners interest. From the Dark Crawler intro into the cartoonish horror soundtrack of Mirror's Edge, which tricks you into thinking its just any dubstep tune, before scattering into Terror's signature broken kicks and claps. Dark Gremlinz feat DOK is a classic peak-era asymmetric grime instrumental. The album then drops down into the 130ish speed of Air Max 90 featuring Champion, which builds from a Soca-like drum drill stretching the rhythm to the point of collapse with a wonky synth, before concluding on a driving baseline house 4/4.
The first Dark Crawler vocal is next, with a ferocious performance from veteran Roll Deep MC Riko Dan, who drops bloodthirsty threats at a breakneck pace. Next, the tempo drops down again to the drunk funk of Full Hundred, with criss cross claps and a rasping bassline breaking down into live drumming and tight trap door edits. Things speed up a little again with the intricate 8 bar funky of Rum Punch, a hard drum tattoo rolling out over a heavy detuned bassline and intense bleeps. On the second Dark Crawler, mic duties are shared by Birmingham MC s Mayhem, Deadly and Saf One. Their hard vocals contrast with lush, the Timbaland (when he was good) styled R'n'B of You Make Me Feel feat Meleka. The album then rolls out into the galloping drums and smooth G-Funk synths of Baby Oil. Trim and Kossie drop the final Dark Crawler vocal, with Trim dropping deadpan threats contesting with Kossie s focussed hysteria. Next up Delicately', with Ruby Lee Rider, starts in slow motion R'n'B mood, sweet Rhodes chords drift and bubble up as the track doubles up into dreamy drum and bass with a fluttering tabla keeping the time, and Ruby's tender vocals tempering the pace and aggression. Overall, it's a brilliant exercise in breathless rhythmic arousal. 'Moschino', on the other hand is a darker, chunkier and grimier mirror image to Delicately, switching up into a ferocious metallic riffage, before the album closes on an outro of 'Dark Crawler' again.
Form, function, energy and talent fuse perfectly over Dark Crawler's length. Enjoy the ride! [info from label]