There’s been a steady stream of Fierce and Zero T releases over the last few years, with each release being as good, if not better than the last. With releases on Dispatch and Fierce’s own imprint Quarantine, they have been responsible for unleashing some of the best stripped down drum and bass of recent memory. (I do still have a good memory, old age hasn’t caught up yet!)
I myself have been championing the thought of a Fierce & Zero T Collaboration album for sometime, in the faint hope it plants the seed in Fierce’s mind. Until that day arrives or I get a definitive “no” I can still dream.
The next best thing is to get another 12” release from these 2 prolific producers, but with a difference… This time the release is on the mighty Metalheadz. Believe it or not this is Fierce’s 1st ever outing on Headz. With Fierce’s C.V. including NoUTurn, Bad Company, Virus, Dispatch, Ram and Shogun to name a few, it’s easy to assume he’s already had an appearance on a label that’s been around in the dnb scene as long as him! Zero T has released tracks on Headz with another longtime collaborator Beta 2, the last one being on Metalheadz Platinum in 2015.
Now to the tracks themselves. The A side, entitled Bonesmen, has managed to cleverly fuse the trademark sounds of Quarantine with the Metalheadz vibe of the 90’s. Starting with familiar Metalheadz/Digital stabs with the eerie pad, slowly building with the Quarantine rolling drums, it transports you all the way back to the Metalheadz Blue Note Sessions. Before you know it the sub hits and the hardcore stabs come in carrying the groove. The famous mentasm sound also decided to say hello leading to the middle part of the tune. It’s like they have cherrypicked the best elements of the golden era and rolled them up in a track for the new generation. Definitely one for the 3 am cru!
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This track is supposed to be a side B, but for me “In Circles” could also be a lead track. Where as “Bonesmen” is full on in your face, “In Circles” is about making you groove with a lighter mellower vibe. This starts with a dreamy pad sound, something you could associate with LTJ Bukem, slowly building with the reece sound weaving in and out of the intro, giving you sense of what’s to come when the track drops. As the reece bass takes the lead on the drop the pad stays in, accompanied by mellow stabs driving the tune along. It’s a very “dreamy” track with added grit, which lets you know it’s not ready to be pigeonholed in the “Liquid” category. A perfect accompaniment to Bonesmen.
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I really do hope these 2 producers carry on making tracks together for years to come; they have done exactly what they did with their first collaboration – make pure drums and bass. They haven’t buckled to what the latest fad is or what sells to get into the top 40 UK chart, they have made music from the heart and music that heavily carries the musical DNA from late 90’s dnb.
FIERCE & ZERO T – BONESMEN / IN CIRCLES is available directly from Metalheadz on digital and 12″ vinyl
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