Monday, June 4, 2012
Nero's Welcome Reality
Let’s just admit this right up front...dubstep has pretty much destroyed dance music. Dance music used to be about melody, hooks, basslines, and rhythm; everything that grabs hold of your ears and never lets go. Now, thanks to dubstep all those things have been seemingly chucked out the window in favor of tuneless noises, seemingly broken synths, wobbly sub-basslines and generally the sense that drum and bass was just too fast. Now slowed down so even the most inept of dancers can throw themselves along to the pace, dubstep has become incredibly mainstream and among the leaders of that pack is Nero.
Nero, unlike Skrillex, actually seems to understand that a melody and possessing a pop sensibility is a good thing. Their album Welcome Reality is the unnerving meshing between dubstep, "electro house," and drum and bass. The record for the most part sounds like the first Justice album slowed down to half pace and then run through the Wobbletron 10,000 for good measure. Despite it's many tuneless misgivings Nero do manage to give this record a feel, that although the impending apocalypse is upon us, we might as well have a catchy tune to die by. And so Welcome Reality unburies the idea of a tune dusts it off and gives it a small inkling of life. Complete with guitar solos, pulsating synths, seductive vocals, devastating bass, and the weight of the universe Welcome Reality seems destined to flatten everything in its path. While I have no problems with such things, (I did after all used to listen to a lot of Death Metal and Darkcore) if it's done with an actual tunefulness about it, it can be even more devastating. This is where Nero seems torn.
Nero is somewhere in the middle ground in the war between the darkness and light. I suspect they've been lured to the darkness because so much of dubstep is unimaginative and tuneless and thus easy to produce. However, I suspect the light, or their drum n' bass roots, keep them anchored to the idea that a good song is still important no matter how brutal the bassline. While much of Welcome Reality is listenable especially when they get all atmospheric, this is a group that will have to make a choice...between a Welcome Reality and an unwelcome one. Let’s hope that they pick the right one. Until then leave dubstep for fratboys and hipster wannabes.