Boomkat Product Review:
It's been a while now since drum & bass ruled the urban roost. Very much taking the back seat to Grime and now of course Dubstep, Ye Olde Drum & Bass has had to suffer many an indignity at the hands of an increasingly apathetic audience - not least when Goldie popped up in Eastenders as a local 'ard man. Yet regardless of this sweaty tarnish, there's still a die-hard contingent of D'n'B heads out there, keeping the BPM's flaming and trying to push the genre in a direction that suggests evolution rather than ennui. Very much at the sharp end of this movement are Mancunian three piece Mistical, whose debut album 'The Eleventh Hour' is a drum n bass record which isn't ashamed to say so. Kicking off with the title track, Mistical go straight for the jugular through MC DRS' stagnation put-down of "The same old structure that we've heard before, the same old samples now you're out the door" - itself delivered atop a sweating cascade of tidal beats and piquant melody. Yes it sounds like something you could have heard circa 1995, but thanks to Mistical's use of clipped rhythms and claustrophobic soundscapes the whole thing comes off with moody sense of progression that verbally fires down all the scenes "lame producers". Incorporating elements from disciplines that extend beyond the usual snare-kick fare, 'Memory Jog' incorporates some 'Strings Of Life' aesthetics into its tumultuous beats, whilst 'Believe' looks to show the dubstep upstarts just how damaging a well detonated sub-bass can be. Neatly avoiding the polite avenues now inhabited by 4hero or Reprazent, 'The Eleventh Hour' is commendably rough around the edges - bringing with it an aesthetic that is moody but not petulant. With evident influence coming from Bukem, tracks like 'Groove Me' and 'Amen Electric' are grand affairs that don't shirk the odd flute or see-saw melody - resulting in an album that takes the drum & bass crib sheet, then plays it straight faced and old-school. Heading off with the closing outro of 'Natasha', Mistical have made an LP that isn't ashamed of being drum & bass - and neither should you for liking it. Midnight!