Review Summary: The king.
At this point, Australian drum and bass quintet Pendulum
are probably well known for constantly alienating the DnB scene as much as they are known for their music (though I would imagine most people know bandleaders Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen's side project Knife Party more nowadays). Despite all the sound shifts, they've actually managed to display plenty of consistency over the years; but Pendulum is one of those bands where the debut album, Hold Your Colour
, is their magnum opus, and in their case it is not only their best album, it's one of the most influental albums in the entire genre, and certainly one of the greatest.
Rob and Gareth clearly had eyes on both the club lunatics and the home listener, because one of the greatest assets of Hold Your Colour
is how it fits both in raves and for casual listening. Songs like "Slam" and "Tarantula" were obviously meant to cater to the dance crowd, while others such as the title track are more pointed towards the standard listener, but they're executed in such a way that neither audience ends up feeling alienated. Everything is also incredibly catchy, with "Tarantula" and the title track being the most notorious ear worms; Rob and Gareth's gift for crafting amazing melodies is something very few musicians possess nowadays. But what truly makes Hold Your Colour
one of the most influental albums in the drum and bass genre is how many artists began following in Pendulum's footsteps—thanks to them, the genre started evolving outside of its rave/club roots and into worldwide recognition. The sheer impact of this album is to the point where Pendulum effectively became the Beatles of drum and bass in the sense that virtually all artists in the genre are going to carry their influence for the remainder of its existence, even after it ends up falling out of favor (which certainly isn't anytime soon). It's a mammoth accomplishment, especially for a debut, but Pendulum successfully managed to pull it off.
Hold Your Colour
is beautifully mixed as well; the bass is audible, the synths are incredibly polished and shiny and perfectly exemplify what the future of drum and bass was at the time. Rob and Gareth absolutely knocked it out of the park while simultaneously continuing to innovate—rather than 100% emphasis on the bass and drums, the genre also began relying on melodies as well, which no doubt has only increased its health and longetivity in the increasingly melody-focused electronic music scene, which meant that even with the advents of brostep and trap that DnB still retained a sense of relevancy. Hold Your Colour
has it all—catchiness, originality, innovation—and it no doubt will forever hold a special place as one of the greatest drum and bass albums ever made.