Since its emergence in the mid-90s, drum and bass has remained a resolutely underground scene that has rarely crossed over to the mainstream.
It’s ironic that the London production duo Saul Milton and Will Kennard, a.k.a. Chase and Status, have proven the exception to this rule as they are among the genre’s more thick-wristed and slack-witted practitioners. Their second album, 2011’s No More Idols, charted at number two and ushered them in to a lucrative new world of Rihanna and Snoop Dogg remixes, despite being a largely tedious aggregation of clunking, predictable rave beats and churning sub-metal guitars.
Possibly stung by the subsequent reviews that dismissed them as lowest-common-denominator chancers and one-trick ponies, Milton and Kennard have broadened their musical remit this time around but failed to alleviate the fundamental problem. A host of guest stars essay different genres, but they all sound like Chase and Status: Thump. Bang. Crash. Wallop.
Brand New Machine boasts such a wide array of dance music styles that it could be a compilation album. Their protégé Moko fronts the euphoric house of current single Count On Me, Pusha T growls over the gangsta-rap techno noir of Machine Gun and Elli Ingram adds a siren vocal to Heaven Knows, but all are pulverised beneath their hosts’ one-size-fits-all rave-rock.
Former nu-metal heads and devotees of Skrillex-style bro-step will love it – but ultimately it’s a limited, depressing listen.