His metoric rise to fame in the world Dubstep scene could be made in to a heartwarming Disney movie. I’m talking, of course, about UK Dubstep/Electro/Drumstep Artist Zomboy. Approximately 1 year ago, he modestly released one of the biggest EPs of the year: Game Time. Since then, 21 year old Joshua Mellody has been living admist a whirlwind of tours, shows, interviews, guestmixes, and parties, rubbing shoulders with the Dubstep elite. After taking some time to work on his production, and signing on with Never Say Die Records (home to SKisM, Foreign Beggars, and Dodge & Fuski), Zomboy returns to us with his second release, “The Dead Symphonic EP”. This 6-track wonder showcases Zomboy’s skill as a multiple-sub-genre producer, and combines his unique, glitch-heavy bass with beautifully orchestrated strings and clever, well-timed samples, resulting in a more mature but equally heavy collection of dance floor destroyers. Let’s break down the EP track by track:
The EP begins with Nuclear (Hands Up). The track permeates with a heavy Reggae influence. Staccato piano stabs, dub bass and two-step drums set the vibe for a heavy, melodic drop. It is here that we return to the familiar Zomboy sound – a moving melody combined with a glitchy, prolonged first note. However, my favourite part of the track has to be the first entrance of the layered strings- they provide a powerful, sweeping feeling to the track without taking away from the get-up-and-dance air to the track. The second drop becomes a double-time frenzy great for headbanging, before slowing down once again to end off the track.
Hoedown continues to build off the guttural bass with sharp strings reminiscent of the buildup to a movie’s action sequence. The song undoubtedly gets it’s name from the old-western guitar break, climaxing in an familiar sample from everyone’s favourite pig-smashing, kamikaze bird smartphone game. This is a solid mid-set filler.
Written while he was visiting the city, Vancouver Beatdown is a complextro-styled banger designed to lift everyone off their feet. The song is highlighted with police sirens and a unique guitar riff, and a 16-bit interlude that feels like something out of a Super Nintendo game. This track also gives you an idea of what his live performances are like; they vary vastly in genres and tempos, so you never get bored. A definite favourite, and easily the best electro/complextro song that Zomboy has done so far in his young career.
City-2-City is the best display of Zomboy’s growth as an artist. Belle Humble provides fantastic vocals, gives the song depth and complements excellent guitar work and orchestration. Fantastic use of sweeps and filters build up the track to the point of exploding, where finally the song drops into a frenzy of Borgore-esque grit and that oh so wonderful Zomboy sound. A great combination of grinding bass and uplifting melody make this the best overall production on the EP (of course, this is only my opinion!).
The most symphonic song of “The Dead Symphonic” has to be Deadweight. Beautiful, ominous violins introduce you to the heaviest dubstep track on the EP. Flawless triggering of different samples and the use of Alvin Risk’s signature lasers give this song a dark, mosh pit-inducing flavour. Again, breakdowns and interludes are heavily orchestrated, leading the listener through an intense journey of sounds and violence. The grittiest of the gritty, I definitely see this as a great song to open a set with.
The final track on the album is titled Gorilla March, and I don’t understand the name at all. If I was dancing to this it would hardly be a march, it would be absolutely chaos! As someone who has a strong bias towards drumstep, I cannot help but choose this as my favourite track on the EP. Minor scales give the intro a strong Middle-Eastern flavour, and the speed of the kicks make my temperature rise in excitement. The vocals are hands-down the best addition to the track, they remind me of Buraka Som Sistema‘s Hangover. My one complaint with this song is the fact at the end was produced with the intention of Gorilla March being the final track of the EP. The symphony there feels like a separate track of its own, and doesn’t really have any business in being associated with a track as intense as this. Personally, I would have ended the EP with a more fitting outro track.
The Dead Symphonic is a journey in and of its own. Powerful production, creativity, and head-thumping bass dominate this EP, and refresh a genre that has been losing credibility to the overwhelming number of new subscribers to the scene. Rest assured, as long as we have talents like Zomboy, we will always have top notch bass music. This EP is a must have for all EDM lovers.
Gary Sagoo – EDM TOR
Album: The Dead Symphonic
01 Nuclear (Hands Up)
03 Vancouver Beatdown
04 City 2 City ft Belle Humble
06 Gorilla March