Review Summary: Skream's debut album, and a Dubstep classic.
Skream's debut album is a classic. It was released shortly before Rusko helped bring in a wave of generic sounding "brostep" (although Rusko does have some good songs). Any fan of Dubstep should give this album a listen.
1. Tortured Soul
Immediately, this song starts out with an unnerving string section, with some grinding noises coming in shortly after. This sets the dark, nervous mood that defines this song. Some tabla drums come in, followed by some more industrial-type sounds. Overall, this is a good track, although there isn't much to it.
2. Midnight Request Line
This song starts off with a sample from an old 80's hip hop song, which transitions toward a nice melody. I really like the rhythmic variation in this song. It changes often, but not too much to where it leaves you unfamiliar with what is going on. In fact, transitions are what this song does best. This song probably has barely anymore actual "content" than Tortured Soul, but the beautiful transitions make it seem like it has so much more. The song mainly repeats the same melody, but with some variations in pitch, and for a short time, instrument. Skream did a fantastic job with this song, and I can easily see why it's considered one of his best works.
3. Blue Eyez
Skream brings Dubstep back to its Dub roots for this one. This song is a lot like a more upbeat, dubby version of Midnight Request Line. Skream does a very good job at keeping his rhythms interesting. The song does seem to drag on toward the end, though.
Skream starts this song off with some white noise with a flanger on it and some high hats. Then come the reggae stabs. The beggining is quite similar to Blue Eyez. In fact, similar is the best word to describe this song. It's basically a loop with a few fx on top and some automation. In fact, it IS a loop with a few fx on top and some automation. It's good for what it is, but I think Skream could have done more with this idea.
5. Check It (featuring Warrior Queen)
I think this song should have been left off of the album. The instrumentation itself is weak. The vocals help to keep interest at first, but they eventually get annoying. This song lacks the greatness of the songs at the beginning of the album.
After the last two songs on this album combined with the intro of this song, it doesn't sound too promising at first. However, as the song goes on, it starts to sound decent. The place this song really shines at is the end. Everything gets much more interesting, melodically and rhythmically. This song isn't too special, but it helps to keep the downward slope in quality that the last two songs set from spiraling out of control.
7. Dutch Flowerz
This song is nice and chill. The combination of the sine bass and the nice metallic sounding lead make for a good combo. Later the guitar and Trancey strings come in, and they help enhance the mood even more. Finally, the song introduces some horns and fades out at the very end. If I had to describe this song with one word, it would be beautiful. It may not be as catchy as Midnight Request Line, but I personally think it's the superior song.
This is another one of the more popular songs on the album. I'd say it and Midnight Request Line are the most popular from this album, but I would say Midnight Request Line is definitely the better of the two. This song includes a nice flute lead, but it doesn't offer much else in my opinion. On the other hand, Midnight Request Line is solid in every area.
9. Tapped (featuring JME)
Tapped is more of a Grime song. It's nice to hear some (good) lyrics in this album, but overall, I wouldn't really say this song is anything that special. It has some nice 808esque bass, but it's one of the weaker songs on the album in my opinion.
Melodically, this piece is very interesting. Not to mention it's also one of the few songs on the album with a bass that has a timbre other than the classic sine wave bass. It drags on a little too long for my tastes though.
11. Summer Dreams
This (along with Emotionally Mute) is probably the most unique song on the album. It's like Soulful House combined with Dubstep. The sample coming in at the beginning of the song of the commotion one would hear at a diner immediately sets a mood that the rest of the song builds on. I really like how Skream varies the percussion samples by cutting off the tails at certain points. This is especially noticeable with the claps. I wouldn't suggest you listen to this song if you're not in the mood to chill out, because it may seem too long otherwise. However, if you want a nice chill-out song, this would be a good choice.
Starting off with a flute sound, it begins sounding a lot like Rutten. However, it changes when this crazy synth sound comes in after about 2 minutes. It has more variety than Rutten, but it's not as catchy. A good song, but there are plenty on the album I consider better.
13. Emotionally Mute
Melodically, this is by far the strongest song on the album. This song has one of the best uses of melody and countermelody I have ever seen. Sure, some Trance songs may have crazy melodies, but this song's melodies aren't just individual talents. They work together as a cohesive team, and that is what makes this song so special. The percussion may not be as varied as some of the other songs in this album, but it doesn't matter, because the melody should provide enough variation for anybody.
Good album. Midnight Request Line is very popular and very good. Dutch Flowerz is another great Dubstep song, Emotionally Mute and Summer Dreams have less Dubstep influence but are just as good.
I'm giving this album a 4.0/5.0.