BOOM! Andy Stott and Miles Whittaker Drippon' science, running in red and making a Metalheadz album that never was, or could be, come to think of it. As dark as Doc Scott or pre-celeb Goldie ever got, they never had the nerve or aesthetic vision to do as much damage as Stay Ugly. Yes, you will wonder if those old speakers have finally blown. I did, but the Wharfedales are nearly 40 years-old. Brutal doesn't do this track justice. But how would it have played in a d&b club circa '95? Everyone would have complained about the sound system, probably.
That aside, despite taking a leaf or three from classic era drum 'n' bass when no-one was for turning, Stott and Whittaker rewind and re-imagine their own version of those dark nights. Temper Tantrum in particular reminds me of certain tunes I'd keep in my box ready to raise everything; DJ Krust, perhaps, or Lemon D. But this is a sombre, austere take on the old blueprint, with no concessions to an imaginary dance floor, only the skinny white boys lurking in corners, clasping a can of beer, nodding whilst their insides are rearranged by the bass.
Spectral Source carries a hint of Techno-Jazz fusion in the loop, baring in mind that the merest suggestion of Lonnie Liston Smith used to warrant the tag 'Jazzy', creating something like classic Carl Craig beefed up by the modern concrete aesthetic. Corrosive gets a boost 3mins in...here come the drumz! Again, they're so distorted and chopped as to suggest a past that's not only been plundered, but ripped apart.
Just when you might think the old breaks are going to be broken all the way through, Back Down comes lumbering along like a battalion of mutant killer bees, so big they can't fly, only buzz, loudly, scarily...and they're made of iron, partly. The last track, Quay, might seem to offer some respite, but it's additional sounds are too ominous to allow for rest, only the restless turning in your bed whilst unknown entities rattle things and grunt like a pig.