A Distorted Vision
In general, there seem to be two types of people in the world: those who love dubstep, and those who don’t. Now a couple of DJs from the American Southwest seem to be pushing this hard-edged style into a different, maybe more palatable direction. DJ’s OBI-One and J Paul have teamed up with vocalist Skaught Parry to put together the latest EP from their group HavocNdeeD, titled Distoria.
This short, eclectic record of six tracks comes off as something like a melodic experiment in poppy dubsteb. The aggressive drum-pounding and buzzing industrial synthesizers are turned down a few notches and accompanied by surprisingly diverse instrumentation with heavily processed vocals. The mixers are moving away from the heavy drum-and-bass dominated jams that blast through dingy basement clubs every weekend, into a more melodic sound that incorporates pianos, ringing harmonics, twangy acoustics and even a clever sample of the theme from The Exorcist.
There’s a lot here, that’s for sure, but it can come off as a bit immature, or maybe underdeveloped. One of the group’s most popular past releases was a Linkin Park remix, which is easy to believe after listening to Distoria. In fact, it’s often hard to forget.
There’s something about this record that sounds like high school all over again. Even through the more experimental cuts, such as “At Last,” which features soft piano lines and steely cowboy guitars over a stomp-and-clap percussion line, it seems like the group is trying to channel Trent Reznor and coming up with Chester Bennington. It’s a tricky line to walk, especially when one of the tracks opens almost exactly like an old Linkin Park song. Meanwhile, the dubstep sound has become more pop-friendly in recent months, and it’s unclear whether HavocNdeeD is trying to develop that sound or cash in on it.
The group could likely appeal to the younger crowd and the club scene. The hooks are catchy enough, the beats are danceable enough, and the production is glossy enough. It’s friendly enough to make a wave, but it might not be smart enough to ride that wave in the right direction.