The Bug Angels & Devils Ninja Tune
The component parts of the dark arts of dub(step) never felt so ominous than when placed in the hands of Kevin Martin.
The reverb, the colossal clatter and resonance of half-time drops, the vocalists and bleak rush of The Bug’s 2008 album London Zoo brought the whole project above dubstep’s parapet and into a league of its own. As the genre finds itself in the mire of moving away from the dub blueprint as a result of the collective bastardisation by EDM clowns, The Bug returns. And fucking hell it feels good.
Angels & Devils splits the consciousness of the music into two distinct halves. The first six tracks are brooding, chugging bass-weight laced, smoke-inducing trips, many of which could feel like Massive Attack instrumentals. The ghostly, Burial-esque Save Me, featuring the perfectly deployed Gonjasufi, is unnerving, and Mi Lost is the closest The Bug comes to making a pop track, with a sinister vocal that smiles at you while brandishing a knife.
Then the nastiness really starts. What unfolds over the next six tracks is a gnarled exploration of some of the most lyrically visceral, raw themes and sounds ever committed to record. Flowdan’s signature delivery once again takes centre stage. Fat Mac is delivered remorselessly in spoken word with lyrics like “skin graft/skin burnt/I laugh/they learnt”, underlined by the rumbling bass fracturing and crumbling underneath. Final track Dirty is a lyrical barbwire assault, the chorus of which contains the line “Funktion One, are you dumb?”, which has the potential for true underground notoriety. Death Grips collab Fuck A Bitch is a match made in heaven, with its warbling underbelly and dubstep structure, and Fuck You with Warrior Queen feels like Poison Dart’s ruder sister. No bad thing. Angels & Devils is a bass weight masterpiece, done nastier, colder and with more style than anyone else in the genre by a country mile.