Camo & Krooked

Cross the Line

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Their first release through the pioneering drum‘n'bass label Hospital Records, Cross the Line, the second album by Reinhard Rietsch and Markus Wagner (aka Camo & Krooked), suggests they were caught with two minds over whether to stick to their underground signature sound or to venture into other electro territories in the hope of crossing over to the mainstream à la Chase & Status. It's a dilemma that they don't appear to have dealt with too well, as the Example-esque bass-heavy pop of "Make the Call" and the chopped-up vocal house of "Funk You" will leave many of the Austrian duo's existing fan base scratching their heads, while the propulsive grooves and video game bleeps of "Far Away" and the blistering 180-bpm and wailing spacy synths of "Breezeblock" are unlikely to attract any new converts. It's a shame that they couldn't have stuck to what they know best, as they appear far more comfortable when tackling the familiar than they do the unknown. "Hot Pursuit" is an enthralling slice of dance-metal, whose turbocharged guitar riffs and stuttering industrial basslines provide an appropriate backdrop for the menacing lyrics of "give me all your money"; "Watch It Burn" (a new vocal version of their remix for Deadmau5's "Raise Your Weapon"), "In the Future," and the title track are euphoric slices of melodic liquid drum‘n'bass; while closer "Afterlife" is a suitably chilled fusion of delicate piano hooks, lush layered synths, and even some occasional brass flourishes. Compare these adventurous offerings to the constant dirty wobble bass drops and predictable dubstep beats on the grime-inspired "The Lesson," the Nero-esque "All Fall Down," and the unsettling "Run Riot," and it's clear where their production strengths lie. Indeed, Cross the Line only highlights the fact that not everyone will necessarily benefit by surrendering to the ubiquitous dubstep sound, something that these talented drum‘n'bass maestros should perhaps bear in mind next time round.

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