Review Summary: While remaining on the heavier side of things, Matta throws in enough outside influences to craft a dubstep album that goes much deeper than their "wompy" contemporaries
For those that don’t mind very general descriptions (so this is likely to piss off 90% of the site), dubstep can really be separated into two categories: the “womps” and the more chill and atmospheric. Many bands/artists come to mind when thinking of the first (Borgore, Tomba, anything Rottun) and many more for the second (Burial, Clubroot, James Blake) but what about mixing both? Until Matta, the only thing that came to mind for me was Distance (on his two full lengths). While clearly remaining more on the atmospheric side of the genre, Distance often found himself incorporating heavier elements to his music in order to boost the dark vibe he was so good at creating. But I digress.
Unlike Distance, Matta find themselves clearly more on the “womp” side of things but they have tweaked it ever so slightly with some Distance-esque elements as to create one of the most engaging and interesting full lengths to come out from that side.
Mass serves as the perfect introduction to the record. Starting off with some eery synth notes backed by an ominous organ, one almost expects this to turn into the record Distance should be releasing right now. This impression is only furthered by the sample of a woman bleakly chanting. However a few seconds later, the song truly begins with a deep, metallic sounding bassline that undulates sinisterly around the continued sample of the chanting and some dark synth notes.
The album plays around with this formula over the course of its length, sometimes seeing itself wandering more into the more wobble heavy parts of the genre (Release The Freq) and at others easing itself clearly into its dark, atmospheric counterpart (Suicide Stutter). Matta is clearly comfortable playing both of these styles and it isn’t surprising that they manage to combine both so effortlessly on the rest of the album’s tracks. They keep the album sounding fresh throughout by using various types of samples (female vocals, acoustic guitars, organs) and also by changing up their style ever so slightly from track to track through little modifications of how much they take from each style of dubstep.
All in all, Matta have created a somewhat heavy dubstep album that still manages to have some clear lasting value due to the obvious effort that was put into crafting the tracks. While not sounding quite as filthy as Borgore or as ominous as Distance, Matta finds a middle ground that combines the power of heavier dubstep along with the aesthetics of the dark, atmospheric kind and are truly worth noting for it.