Terror Danjah

The Dark Crawler

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Reggae music has a long (and mostly honorable, though sometimes sketchy) tradition of "one-rhythm" albums, which are created when a bunch of different singers or DJs are invited to perform original lyrics over a single instrumental track. U.K. grime and dubstep have many other connections to the reggae tradition as well, but on this album by established grime legend Terror Danjah, the old idea of a one-rhythm album is brought into the 21st century. Unlike a traditional rhythm album, this one doesn't feature the exact same backing track on every cut; instead, the "Dark Crawler" theme is like a thread that binds the program together. If you're not paying attention, you might not even notice the thematic commonality between tracks. Partly this is because Terror Danjah twists and deconstructs the original track quite drastically at several points, and it's partly because he brings in a varied stable of singers, rappers, and DJs, each of whom makes the theme his or her own, from Riko Dan's dancehall speed-rap to Trim & Kozzie's grittily aggro rapping. There are quieter and more romantic moments as well, from Meleka (on "You Make Me Feel") and Ruby Lee Ryder (whose "Delicately" brilliantly combines soft and sensuous vocals with a frenetic tabla-driven, post-jungle groove). Terror Danjah's patented devil-laugh sound is becoming a little bit tiresome, but overall this album is a testament to the kind of brilliance that can happen when a single strong groove is placed in the hands of a creative producer.

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