Review: Babylon Annihilation by Dub Terminator
Green Queen Music has been releasing a steady stream of top quality dub related projects and the late September 2011 release from NZ based Dub Terminator, Babylon Annihilation, is no exception. Dub Terminator creates a rare combination of dubstep, rootsical reggae and dancehall, all looking forwards while rooted firmly in the Jamaican heritage. A lot of dubstep does not connect with dub – this is imbued with it.
Dub Terminator has a webpage with what appears to be approximately the same album, Babylon Dubstep Annihilation, on it: http://dubterminator.com/album/babylon-dubstep-annihilation
The version I was sent by the label, which I presume to be the UK release version, has ten tracks on it and a slightly different title, Babylon Annihilation.
The opener, Call Me, featuring Melloquence, features a relentless dubsteppy bassline and a raggamuffin vocal delivery that sets the tone for much of the rest of the album.
The second tune, possibly called Bad Mind (I wasn’t sent a track list and there is no CD Text embedded in the tunes – I wish labels would do that!) is almost broken-beat dubstep with a more traditional approach to a rootsical vocal and melody and with a solid skank. Let it Blaze follows with a more traditional dub sound palette and vocal but still has a phat warm analogue bass sound which I believe has been generated by a Minioog synthesiser. A skittering broken-beat riddim and an up-front vocal mix define track four, Let me Know and it features Senita Mogul as does the next tune, Man Like Me. This starts quietly and, in true dubstep style, takes a full minute and a half to build to the drop. Fire Raiser kicks off with an almost ambient sequencer riff, leading into massively echoed vocals, and some straightforward dubstep wobble bass. It is long, almost eight minutes and although it builds very gradually, it is not much heavier at end than at the start. The seventh offering, Bed of Rose, starts with an unexpected vocoded vocal. It’s melodic – I could almost expect to hear this on broadcast radio. The Jamaican dialect makes the lyrics incomprehensible to this white boy but there’s some nice dubsteppy synth noises in the mix and it’s a very chilled headnodder by the end. Dope Magnets features some melodica (or something similar) down in the mix below some very low wobbly dubstep bass. Jealous is rhythmically complex and leads us to the final track, Kill Switch, another chilled, down-a-cave, echofest.
The album was recorded over five months, with vocals recorded in Jamaica and the tracks (or riddims) created in Dub Terminator‘s Ocean View Studio in Devon Port, Aukland, New Zealand. It’s a satisfying album, well recorded, and he’s managed to pull off his aim of creating a ‘future reggae’, where dubstep and digidub meet traditional vocal styles and production values to set a high standard for others to attempt to attain.