CD Review: Subsource – ‘Tales From The Doombox’

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After four years of hard touring, two single releases, tonnes of festival appearances and a great deal of good press, genre-defying quartet Subsource roar out of the blocks with their debut LP, ‘Tales From The Doombox‘.

Subsource_album_cover



Their unique combination of electric double bass, crunching metal guitars, drum and bass beats and sung, rapped and screamed vocals have attracted a fan-base as diverse as their many influences. Featuring the previous single ‘The Reason (Parasite)‘ as well as the forthcoming, ‘The Ides‘ (out March 29th), and coming after sessions with Jurassic 5 legend Akil, ‘Tales From The Doombox‘ aims to show that Subsource can bring the noise off the stage as well as on it.

The best tracks on the LP are those that showcase the powerful mix of genres that Subsource have made it their mission to combine. As they say on their MySpace, they are ‘Here to start a war, a war not of conflict but of unification’. Indeed, tracks like the Akil-featuring ‘Street Soul Music‘ explain their aims better than any statement ever could, melding reggae, electro-rock guitar sounds and a samba-like breakdown with rapped, sung and chanted lyrics. To put all these elements in one track and it to come out not sounding like a complete mess is an achievement but to make the collaboration work counts for a massive success.

On other tracks, the group choose to highlight their love for dubstep, managing to adjust this normally laptop-bound genre to live performance, something they call ‘substep’ – ‘The Ides‘ is the best example of this, incorporating the wobbly bass sound made popular by producers like Jakwob and Emalkay to crowd-pleasing effect. Third track, “Some People“, shows Subsource‘s respect for The Prodigy, another group they have had sessions with – the main riff of the track being very similar to ‘Firestarter‘.

Meanwhile, The Reason (Parasite)‘ is their only proper dive into drum and bass, bringing the skills of the sticksman to the fore, the live beats on the track definitely help it to stand out from the typically programmed drumming of most D’n’B producers.  It’s not all awesome though, the attempt to mix all of these genres and influences is very ambitious and, it has to be said, not always a complete success.

Tracks like ‘New Bones‘ seem half-baked, suffering due to Subsource‘s commitment to many different musical styles, the underlying synth-lines and dubstep bass-loops were seemingly added to this one as an afterthought. The nature of Subsource‘s music – powerful bass, pounding drums, call-to-arms lyrics – means that it is bound to lose most of its power during translation from stage to studio, regardless of the band member’s musical prowess. This music is meant to be seen live, surrounded by others. So, while this is a fine debut, you really need to catch this band out on the road to appreciate the Sub-sound fully. Go on then! Check the link for live dates and do what we tell you! You won’t regret it.

rating-4

For more information visit the official MySpace.

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