Hey there hard-up, hardcore Massive readers this is DJ Xtreme coming at you with no nonsense partycore reviews straight outta California- the current capital for hardcore beatz (at least for now). Now if you’re like me and you’ve been reading Massive from the get-go then you’ve probably noticed the lack of partygabber reviews. With a few exceptions, it seems like if its not brutal, torture deathcore or happy rainbow beats then you don’t hear much about it or when you do its so it can be put down by Dan Doormouse and others, and that’s not right. There are many ravers and DJ’s like myself and others from California and elsewhere in the US and Europe who love these labels and tunes and don’t see them as a step backwards but as a preference other than to noisecore and undanceable forms of core. Now don’t get me wrong I like Kotzaak and Jack Lucifer as much as anyone else but to me if you cant dance to it then it kinda looses something in the translation- after all, besides the music, our scene is founded on dancing right? and I don’t mean slamming and jumping into people who sometimes get hurt (and it happens a lot). This isn’t wussy crap hardcore either as it has been called by some but rather good tuff beats for people who like hardcore but not necessarily killcore. Finally, this well-deserving section of hardcore will be explored here in Massive. You’ll find all forms of synth here and if its between 160-180 BPM’s or so you’ll find it here. I’ll do my best to review as many of the labels as I can- there’s a lot out there. In this column expect to find: Mokum, PCP, H20, Dwarf, Area 51, Trax torm, Coolman, Death Chant, Forze and so on… I’ll also be reviewing select mix tapes and amateur tracks from DJs around the US and Europe who push and support the partycore sound here and abroad… Now to the business at hand….
Dwarf #44, Netherlands
The latest in a slew of good Dwarf releases, Viper makes his presence felt on the original mix of the title track ‘Hardcore Gangster’- which is the track I like the most. Although done in the standard format, this track is above par with solid synth work and a great build-up and break, coupled with hard bass for your face. Next is DJ Promo’s remix, which is pretty good, but lacks enough strength and overdoes it a little with the continuous hip-hop. On the B-side is ‘Rock the Disco Tek’ which you could either take or leave. Lastly, is ‘Def with the Records’ which is another bad cloning attempt. I really like Dwarf and I believe the quality of their releases has gone up, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for improvement. Good for your daily dose.
Enter The Darkness
Artcore Gangster Alliance, Holland
Now here is one of the new releases from the label formerly known as Ruffneck. After hearing this and the ‘Fear of a Ruff Planet II’ double pack as well as some other Artcore and Supreme Intelligence records, I think you’ll find all these tracks have a pretty experimental Ruffex feel to them. That’s the focus and the sound of the new Ruffneck. You’ll find familiar alter-egos, such as Ectomorph, and Myrmidon alongside new arrivals Endorphin and D’Spyre. Also there are traditional mainstays like Wedlock and Predator- so far it’s a pretty mixed bag. On this piece of wax my picks are ‘Ruff Destruction’ on side one, and I liked half of ‘The Essence’ on side two. Don’t buy this expecting to find some big change from previous stuff, cuz you might be disappointed. Two steps away from the Ruff recycling bin.
The Death Syndicate
Death Chant #13, UK
Another primo four tracker if innovative and original hardcore from England’s DJ Producer under the sometime-alias Diplomat. If you’ve heard any of his past work on Semtex, Industrial Strength, Hardcore Mafia and of course Stormbreaks #1, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Tight overall production with many different types of sounds used for interesting effects, usually laced with lots of hip-hop samples. This guy has been on my top ten list for a while, the only minor gripe that I have is with the bass- which at times seems to be recorded at a low level. It’s not like this on every track and you can eliminate this by adjusting the bass on your mixer and it shouldn’t be a problem. The cream of the crop here is ‘No Sound FX’ on side one which you’ll want to play in it’s entirety cuz it gets even better during the second half, and ‘Metabolic Disorder’ on the reverse- a great little tune that’s uncomplicated compared to the rest but gets the job done nicely. Creative and highly recommendable.
Hellfish Vs Producer
Death Chant #14, UK
Hardcore’s number one hip-hopper returns for another Death Chant installment- this time it’s round two versus label mate Hellfish. Unfortunately, even though they are long (which is good) there’s only one track on each side. I was hoping for a couple more. ‘Do Ya Like’ is thrown down first on side A then re-mixed by Producer on the flip. The original version is tame and almost funky in comparison to the ‘Champ mix’ which has a much quicker pace and a lot more bass. As usual, the track gets better and it goes on with some trademark scratching here and there, the Producer’s skills behind the tables show in his tracks which never fail to satisfy. A good label to watch.
D-Stroy/80 AUM, Belgium
So far I like most everything I’ve heard from D-stroy. Kesj and Donut deliver with tons of bass and windy synth patterns to keep you moving. The D-stroy side has got ‘Open your Mind’ which is nothing special, using the sample from Total Recall with something that sounds too close to a piano for my taste. Flip to the info side for ‘Ecstatic Solidarity,’ a phenomenal track with upbeat tempo changes that really takes off and takes you along with it. The only negative for me was the old ‘Ecstasy’ sample- but you know what? it doesn’t matter cuz this tune’s fuckin great! The last track- ‘Shadows Empire’ completely sucked, with a real poppy techno feel, which made me cringe. Regrettably, there’s only one really good track on this EP, but it’s a must-have for all party headz.
Kesj & Donut
Bum Rush It All
Deathblow/80 AUM, Belgium
It just keeps getting better with these guys. This time it’s for Deathblow- another label from the 80 AUM family. On the Blow side is ‘Bum Rush the Whole Thing’ and ‘Keep It Hardcore,’ two great stompers with basslines that’ll smack you in the head and move you to the speakers. Strong synth work dominates most of the way through as usual, done with a few good samples thrown in here and there. The Death side contains the K&D remix of ‘Bum Rush the Whole Thing’ which is even better than the original. ‘Motherfucker Bass’ is the only track that I didn’t like… actually it wasn’t so bad- it just didn’t stand up to the other offerings. There are two really good songs and one that’s pretty good. There’s no surprises here, just solid hardcore to get you going. Watch out for future stuff. Find and buy.
Culture Shock/80 AUM, Belgium
“We are the Borg- lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own, your culture will adapt to service us.” The darker, more ominous sense of impending doom the better I like it. I like the hip-hop, Hellraiser, and mafia movie samples a lot too but sometimes they can be all too common in the partygabber world. It’s a quest to find new and original material that hasn’t been overused yet, and so far this year I’ve heard clips from Casino, Heavy Metal, the X-men, and now Star Trek Next Generation. The sample mentioned above is from the title track ‘No Resistance,’ a semi-PCP style track that injects a stompy bassline that sounds Rotterdam influenced. The other entry on that side- ‘True Freedom’ wasn’t quite fast enough. No matter how much I adjusted the pitch- no dice. There’s another two tracks on the info side, but they were pure fluff techno and made me sick. Why they were put on this record I’ll never know. Some cool sampling, there should have been more than just one good track here.
Explosive #2, Germany
My current label of the moment, Explosive Releases can be hard to find; some stores carry them, but usually only a couple and once they’re gone that’s it. I don’t have too much background info on them but all five tracks rock with hard-edged German samples and evil warped synths that will tear apart the speakers. I wish some of the more prolific and widely distributed party labels would take a hint from Explosive and cut out their junky filler stuff. In case you’re wondering, Explosive #1 is also the bomb and worth picking up- as is #3 featuring The Rapist (out now so go buy it while you can!). You can’t fuck with the Germans.
Atomic Records #2 featuring Aggroman
This is the second release on DJ Ron D. Core’s California label- this time it’s Bazooka in his guise as Aggroman who takes the reins. The info side features ‘No More Music for the Suckaz’ which is done in typical Aggro style with choppy, brief, Beavis and Butthead/hip-hop samples crammed with hard beats that tend to jump around a lot, and guitars toward the end. The Atomic side features ‘Captain Dick,’ a mindless gabber romp and ‘You’re Not Ready’ which has a grungy gabbery feel with uninteresting samples and a little scratching. All in all it’s a cool looking picture disc with trippy graffiti art on one side, but other than that it falls a little short. However, if you are a Ron D. Core fan like so many west coast club kids then, I suggest picking up “California Killa” Atomic #3. I gave it a thorough listen and its a marked improvement over this one.
Is anybody out there?
Chock full of old-school synth sounds that will take you back, re-worked (or re-fused) with harder basslines. Don’t misunderstand me, half of this record slams, but the rest kinda doesn’t. On the Ying-Yang side is ‘Out There,’ a crowd friendly anthem style track which is by far the best. The other side contains the Raven’s Countdown mix of ‘Out There,’ which isn’t nearly as good as the original. The final cut- ‘Nothing to Lose’ sounds like it should have been released on Terror Trax or Mega Rave. Unfortunately the energy level doesn’t start picking up until more than halfway through and it just doesn’t move you. One really good track, and two that I opted to pass on. I don’t like to buy records for just one tune but this time it was worth it.
Da Bulldozer Project
Coolman #27, Netherlands
Certainly a step up from the previous ‘Brutal Conspiracy’ and ‘T-mc’ releases, the problem I sometimes have is with samples and MC’s that go on for too long or talk through a track. I know they’re popular in Europe, especially at live shows, but I’ve never really liked them and definitely not when they’re continually rambling over something I want to hear. Fortunately this record has almost none of that, on the A-side you’ve got ‘Something Special,’ a fairly Cold Rush slow-tempo track and ‘Fuck It,’ which although formulaic is an effective mover. The B-side has got the mysterious sounding ‘New Day’ and the title track ‘Da Bulldozer,’ which happens to be the worst entry here with an incredibly long and stupid sample having to do with -you guessed it- the bulldozer and how hard it is. The sample kills the song which would have been average if not for that. The bottom line is you got two tracks that are usable and the rest is pretty uninspired.
Return To Zero
ID&T white, Holland
PCP’s Marshall Masters offers up a one-sided, one track gem which gave me a nice surprise when I found it sandwiched between two hard trance records at a local store. I gave it a quick spin but couldn’t place the label until I checked the letters and code etched around the center which told me ID&T. Now this isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s good. The beginning sounds melodic and reminds me of an old Rebirth track then there’s a small build and in come the cymbals then the hard bass follows. This is good one to slow it down with or to open with, which is why I bought it. There are a few copies of this in the stores, if not you can special order it off the ID&T catalog. Simple and effective.
When I first heard this record, I thought it was something like the Re-Fuse stuff I’ve been hearing but it really wasn’t the same. This release is just too re-hashed and sounds too close to the original tunes for me to consider it new material. The best track to speak of is ‘Back to the Past’ (if that gives you any idea)- it features Dominator synth lines and a host of other old-school noises from hardcore’s early days. On the same side is ‘Ravers Paradise’ which grew on me a little more after each listen. It’s in the same vein as the others but might actually be worth using if you can mix it out fast enough. The flipside contains ‘Can You Thrill Me’ and ‘My Shit is Raw’ -two tracks that sound like remixes of the World Famous MF from PCP #10. These tracks have already been done over and over, they should have left well enough alone instead of trying to cash in on good memories of past anthems. Why?
DJ Jappo & DJ Lancinhouse
Mokum #83, Netherlands
Quality stompers from the team of Jappo and Lancinhouse. You may have already heard of these two from their previous releases on Industrial Strength, as well as their individual on efforts on Coolman and VHU among others. On the numbered side there’s ‘About You,’ just an average track, and ‘Fukem Outro’ which clearly belongs on Fukem and is hard gabber. The information side gives us ‘Wake Up.’ another mediocre entry and ‘XTR Experiment,’ which is pure gold with a super smashing bass and bits of synth woven throughout. This one is already a staple in many DJ’s crates and the reason I bought the record. Also look for their new Industrial Strength Release ISL #9.
Mokum #88, Netherlands
The latest Mokum to hit the streets is an interesting entry, having been recorded in Tokyo, Japan. A few of these tracks are very reminiscent of the Hammer Bros. with distorted samples and some girls talking in Japanese on one cut. The best track on side one is ‘Chang Pong,’ which starts off semi-hip-hopish with the “6 million ways to die” sample, and a mish-mash of a hard thumping bass that rolls into some very fast guitars. On the numbered side both tracks are good- there’s ‘Obsession,’ which has a nice moody beginning that builds into a heavy bass with a synth that winds up and down. ‘You Mustn’t Run Away,’ the last pick, is my hands down top choice, with a little Japanese and a “suck my dick bitch” sample followed by some screaming and an intensely hard, rapid fire bassline. Guitars are then added- this track never lets up and could be considered harder gabber, but will work great with a party set as well. Three usable tracks and the last one is a real doosie.
The New Chapter
A lot of DJ’s have been playing this record for a while. That’s probably cuz it’s one of the best Mutant releases to date. Epitaph serves up three tracks of bangin’ hardcore- each one unrelenting with strong, driving basslines guaranteed to get all those pesky wall flowers off the walls and on to the speakers. If you liked the DJ Epitaph meets Norman Bates track ‘Enjoy the Pain’ that has been floating around a few CD comps, then you’ll love this EP. One of the few artists to stay consistent- you get the goods without the imitation crap that’s plaguing so many other labels.
The Bass Responds
If this is an example of what to expect from this label, then I want to hear more. I actually got my hands on Nukem No. 1 and No. 2 and liked both of them. The track that stands out here is on the logo side, ‘The Bass Responds’ -a solid crowd pleaser, the bass has a dead kick that reminds you of ‘Necronomicon’ by Omar Santana, complete with mars samples from old Eric B and Rakim jams… its definitely my choice. The other two offerings ‘My Aggression’ and ‘Necrophilia’ are alright but lack the flair shown on the first side which left me a little disappointed, but not enough that would prevent me from strongly recommending this label. Check out other releases and be pleased.
Bruyaa & Ozonic
Death Row Remixes
Death Row, Holland
Remixes, remixes, and more remixes put together on an exquisite picture disc which looks neat rotating on your turntable. This platter features work from some of the top names in partycore- my favorites being the DanoChosen Few and Gladiator mixes. The other tracks from DJ Attic and Stylzz, Ralphie Dee and Psycho Punk are also pretty good with heavy basslines and striking synths. This is definitely a tight DJ-friendly package with a variety of mixes to choose from. Take two and call me in the morning.
Kesj and Donut
Smack Up the Bitches EP
Death Blow, Belgium
For some good, wholesome hardcore with a touch of gangster partycore, add one 4-song Death Blow EP for each needed dosage. ‘Smack Up My Bitch’ has pumping bass with some breaks for a good bitchslap. ‘Trouble Your Brain’ throws out more funny samples and a catchy beat. ‘Bold Motherfuckers’ has cool acid lasers that slice the thumping bass line. All in all, some short but not-so-sweet tunes that offer bouncy bass, no builds, and a hardcore fix. <raysa>
Live at Mysteryland
CD Compilation- Thunderdome, Holland
My all time favorite, and one of the oldest and most revered in CD comps, the mighty Thunderdome graces us US hardcore fans with it’s newest collection. All tunes are continuously mixed and were recorded live at the huge outdoor Mysteryland rave in Lingebos, Holland on July 4th this year. The first CD has 24 tracks, with 6 bonus tracks- all of which were taken from sets by DJ Promo and Boris Valeo. To drop a few names, you got Marshall Masters, E-Rick & Tatic, Night Raver, Scott Brown, The Masochist, and DJ Sim. The second CD is even better than the first with 22 tracks split into five mini live sets by Neophyte, 3 Steps Ahead, Rob Gee & Natas, Marc Acardipane & Da TMC, and The Masochist. To top it all off, under the cover is an eight page booklet with photos of the artists and clubbers sweatin’ it up at the event. This is the best compilation I’ve come across so far this year. Thunderdome always goes above and beyond the call of duty to give the party gabber fan a feast for the ears.
Industrial Strength Anthology #1
The Lost Tracks
CD Compilation- Industrial Strength
Classic hardcore techno and hardcore from Industrial Strength, circa 1990-1992. Representing some of the best early tracks that helped influence today’s sound. With remix efforts from Richie Hawtin, Lenny D, Eric Kupper, and Neil McLellan of Prodigy. There’s also a lot of work by Oliver Chesler, and Laura Grabb pops up with one entry as well. My favorites are ‘Frontal Sickness’ from The Mover, and ‘Pyroteknic’ by DX-13. Hearing these tunes again definitely brought back memories. Props to I.S. for putting out a CD that’s listener friendly and will appeal to many- not just the blood and guts crowd.
Wow, what can I say about this slammin 230 min. collection of hardcore? It’s not all in the party vein but is still well worth your hard earned money. That is, if you can find it cuz it’s not fully available in every US record store, but you can order it over the phone through Federation Original Gabber in Germany. Tracks to take note of here are ‘Demonz on Earth’ by Archatos, ‘The Beast’ by Alternative Creators, ‘Intelligent Hardcore’ by Dark Raver and DJ Vince and ‘909 Trauma’ by Forze DJ team to name a few, but there’s actually a lot more good jams inside as well cuz this turkey’s stuffed to the gills!! Seek this one out, you won’t be let down.
Finally real hardcore compilations from Moonshine. I’ve been wondering when they would get around to it. This one’s actually pretty good- compiled by H20 Omar Santana- with tracks from him, Prophet, Rob Gee, Inferno Bros. and the Trickster to get you all sweaty and worked up. The only problem is that, unfortunately, this CD is not continuously mixed. That was a big downer when I listened to it, especially since Omar himself has been blowing up as of late with multiple compilations on Moonshine (that are continuously mixed); in any event this comps got some really good tunes and some that are just soso, listen before you buy and you be the judge.
Okay that’s it for now- next issue expect to find more reviews of your favorite partycore records and compilations. Also starting next issue, select interviews with partycore’s top names starting off with Canada’s First Lady of Hardcore- DJ Double D. If you would like your tape or toon reviewed in this column or just want to tell me where I can go then send it to:
Shout Outs Going Out: To the whole Massive Cru especially Matt (a real standup guy) Wes at Majestic, Nicadeemus at Syntax, Jack Schitt at Subterranean, Mutoid man, Lisa at Progressive records in Reseda, and all the DJs and club kids everywhere who support and keep the partygabber vibe thriving… HAKKE!!!!!!
Peace and Rave-on.