The Bug
Angels and Devils


3.9
excellent

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
August 18th, 2014 | 21 replies


Release Date: 08/26/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Down the rabbit hole.

Angels and Devils, Kevin Martin’s newest LP as The Bug, spirals down further into the nether regions of bass music than Martin has ever traveled before. He’s made incredibly dreary music before (see King Midas Sound’s superb “Meltdown”), but he’s never done anything quite this ominous and oppressive. It has its fair share of dancehall killers, as any good The Bug album would, although it would seem that Martin has wised up to the extremely slim chance he’ll ever make anything as jaw-droppingly nasty as “Skeng” or “Jah Warrior” again.

As a result, the album inches forward at a glacier’s pace through its entire first half. Martin obliterates the aggression and anger found on London Zoo, instead outputting a face that looks inward and despises what it sees. The monolithic, baleful “Pandi” is utterly terrifying, huge washes of Transylvanian organ and trembling bass providing some of the freakiest sonics this side of industrial techno. Martin then goes on to top himself with “Save Me,” its caustic chords and wizened, groaning vocal feature from Gonjasufi plodding forward with the gravity and intentionality of Death itself.

The album’s brooding, intensely dark first half sucks the listener into a vortex of pain so strong that the comparatively lighthearted second half seems especially hollow. This is by no means a bad thing, as only the most intrepid would be able to weather much more crushing blackness, and it’s a refreshing change of pace to see The Bug slowly extricate himself from the muck he created and roar back with the instant-classic opening notes of “Function. ” Here, we see the Martin we’ve known and loved for so many years - his punishing grime is back in full effect, rearing its head and roaring with a cavalcade of well-metered hi-hats and immediately memorable basslines. You can hear Martin’s confidence in the chest-pulverizing bass wobbles of “Fat Mac,” Manga’s cackles in “Function” over a filthy hip-hop mid-range, the dubby synth wails of “Dirty.”

Yet the relative joy of the album’s closing rings oddly against the beginning, and Martin knows it. This results in some of The Bug’s most mournful bangers ever. They haven’t quite recovered from the morass of “Ascension” or “Fall,” and the keening chiptune sirens in “Dirty” and the paranoid snare rolls in “The One” reflect the obsessive, insistent darkness which permeates the whole of Angels and Devils. Even the album’s title is pulled into the fray - the word “angel” almost always appears here followed by “dust,” also known as the drug PCP.

The collapsing roars at the end of “The One,” then, are a microcosm of Martin’s creative and technical talents at their best. Angels and Devils is an album inextricable from intense, looming, pounding despair, and no matter how far away Martin manages to pull himself the blackness always comes back. Its sonic architecture is so crushing that it’s impossible to escape the strangely alluring black-hole pull of the devilish madness The Bug promises here. Angels and Devils is a triumph of anguish, needles and monsters and evil in aural form. Be warned.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2014


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Stream here: http://www.factmag.com/2014/08/18/stream-the-bug-new-album-angels-devils/

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is awesome, nice review too. I think that track is just "Function" though with a c.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2014


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

On my copy it's with a K, but once I get on a comp I'll check

ExplosiveOranges
August 18th 2014


3134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet rev, Will. Gonna have to give this a spin soon.

Digging: Winterfylleth - The Divination Of Antiquity

Relinquished
August 18th 2014


25186 Comments


fuckin great record, at least a 4.2 for me

Void's probably my soty for now, that dub darkness reminds me much of the late 90s

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2014


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

you're right TMobo, it's with a "c." not sure why my copy was different

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2014


31350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Will find a way to neg this due to obscene references to "bass music"

PappyMason
August 19th 2014


1027 Comments


Nice review. This sounds promising.

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2014


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

ctrl-f "bass music" 1 result ?

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2014


6487 Comments


Never really got into London Zoo, but I've heard good things about this.

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You gotta check it Clerc. Nice dig BTW, I'm listening to that as we speak and it's awesome.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2014


31350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

1 is too much!

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nvm

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2014


6487 Comments


You gotta check it Clerc. Nice dig BTW, I'm listening to that as we speak and it's awesome.

Idk, it's wearing off already... I liked his eerie take on techno on his debut. After a few listens, this new one on the other hands seems like a weird hybrid between Forest Swords and Haxan Cloak. Lost a bit of uniqueness in the Tri-Angle roster to cross-pollination, which I find a shame.

djunior
August 20th 2014


799 Comments


Nice review. I need to hop on this.

Also, Im liking that Vessel album a lot, but its the first time Ive checked him out. Would you recomend his previous work over Punish?

Digging: Warsawwasraw - Sensitizer

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2014


6487 Comments


I would. Punish, Honey is very good as well. I just like the previous one better atm.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I probably made my judgment a little too quickly. I don't disagree with you but I need to give it a few more listens to be sure where it lands for me. I do dig it quite a bit though.

Hep Kat
August 21st 2014


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

never seen THAT incredibly creative summary before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Relinquished
August 21st 2014


25186 Comments


crap rating hep

Zettel
August 23rd 2014


599 Comments


I just listened to this, I quite really liked it. I did not know what to expect ( had not read this review), but the hip hop tracks are well done. It is a dark record overall, but fun to listen to.



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