I think it’s fair to say that John B understands Drum & Bass, he has been making it since I started listening, two whole decades ago. Throughout that time, he has worked tirelessly on an extensive back catalogue, across multiple labels, racking up countless gigs across the world.
This release sees his return to Metalheadz, a label that has hosted one of his finest tracks in my opinion. The monster tune ‘Up all Night‘. His latest offering is two songs (three if you purchase the digital version) that are a demonstration of what he has picked up through his years of being such an integral part of this scene.
We start with ‘Lava‘ this demonstrates the darker side of the genre, with a driving break being led by a consistently evolving synth stab and bass line growling menacingly in the background. With intermittent vocal samples and the odd breakdown allowing you to catch breath, before the next audio assault.
On the flip we find ‘Lie to Me‘, a soulful roller that greets listeners immediately with a tidy break before unleashing a deceptively heavy bassline, seriously this thing does some damage to your speakers. This is accompanied by a balanced vocal, which sits nicely alongside the other component parts. Please don’t be deceived into thinking this is a liquid track, that would do it a huge disservice, this stands up in any set throughout the night.
Finally, the digital bonus track ‘The Colossus‘. Gone are the days of bonus tracks just being thrown in to encourage digital sales. I absolutely loved this track and would happily have paid for it as a separate release, with its own b side. What starts as a melodic introduction, slowly becomes more menacing with a crashing break and a loop that becomes more haunting with each element being introduced. Once all elements have presented themselves, you are faced with a song that lives up to the name, a formidable track.
In a previous review I have made reference to my favourite release of all time being ‘The Prototype Years‘, with John B playing a huge part in that. This is a reintroduction of the unmistakable sounds that dominated his tracks throughout that LP. Something that I hope we will continue to hear more of in the future.