Panacea

Underground Superstardom

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With a mug like the one on the cover (and the included foldout poster), superstardom may be a long time coming for Matthias Mootz. Still, Underground Superstardom, his soundclash of early hardcore, pounding drum'n'bass, and darkside rave, could well catch the tail of the rave revival that's placed dozens of early-'90s rave retrospectives on the shelves. Less industrial than he's been in the past, these productions simply scream 1992-1993; just before leaping into some serious hardcore breakbeat, the opener cranks up the energy with a few rave staples guaranteed to provoke a smile from any aging crusty: dueling vocal samples (disco diva vs. hip-hop b-boy) and siren-frequency effects boosting the euphoria level to unheard dimensions. "The Evil Seed" is the single (complete with video), featuring a snarling pop vocal and one of Panacea's few concessions to post-1995 jungle: the rumbling bassline that distinguished his early singles "Tron" and "Stormbringer." Right after "The Evil Seed," there's a mini-set of classic darkside hardcore, a godsend for fans who haven't heard anything new on the order of "2 Bad Mice Take You" or "Lord of the Null Lines" in years. Not necessarily the blueprint for success with prime markets like pre-teenage girls or aging music critics, but plenty of fun nevertheless.

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