Detboi Rumbles Onto Metalheadz With His Astonishing Secrets EP

Posted by Ben on 22nd July 2017

Not many releases make us truly, as the title says, astonished. Simply because it’s so difficult now for artists to make themselves stand out amidst the saturation, social medial firestorm and constant need to be in everyone’s faces all the time. If you have 100 people shouting at you at once it’s harder to hear each individual person, right?

Picture those hundred people all shouting at you, then add in one more person and give them a megaphone linked up to a sound system. That person is Detboi and the megaphone is his latest EP, Secrets, on Metalheadz, a release that has caught our attention along with pretty much..well, everyone. A 5 tracker that simply doesn’t fit into any of the conventional boxes, Ireland’s Detboi jumps from downtrodden 130bpm to a punishing 160-170, pushing boundaries that you didn’t even know existed, with sounds you’ll struggle to comprehend.

It’s the classic Metalheadz sound we all know and love, except…different. Secret Venom exemplifies that best, bringing the EP in with those foreboding Metalheadz vibes: frighteningly alluding pads and the first of many spasmodic breaks. There’s no traditional structure here, no recognisable feeling of journey or transportation, just Detboi’s pure venom – throbbing bass kicks feeding into subterranean lowfreq punches. Think Photek except at the bottom of a K-hole – rhythmic precision, blackened terror and exceptional breakwork.

More anticipation follows with Claws, demonstrating percussion at its most tempting;  prickly, pissed off and perfectly weighted. Celestial bass wobbles and dives carve in the low end, but unlike most tracks there doesn’t seem to be a clearly defined edge between percussion and bass, it’s all blended together but still so distinct – uncomfortable but oh so pleasurable. The old school has been slammed into the new school’s influences and desire to mix and match, maintaining that hard-lipped rustiness whilst whipping up a maelstrom of fresh-faced creativity.

The opening routine begins to feel familiar by track three but stays clear of monotony. Chopped up samples echo with humanity amidst more dysmorphic amalgamation of breaks and bass, providing a hook to latch onto whilst you endure relentlessly battering. Satisfying to the core, Skin Deep’s back end backbone reverberates on hyperkinetic claps and shakes, ambience chucked in the bin in favour of total control over mood and feeling. The nearly 8 minutes it takes for this one to play out will feel like eternity, with no end in sight you’ll forget what the start sounded like – Detboi’s sound blurring into seeming oblivion. It’s just you, the speakers and your complete lack of comprehension as to how you got there.

Here we bloody go again. The tempo feels both slower and faster on this one, usual constraints and observations on speed are inapplicable for Detboi as he slides up and down the pitch fader like a man possessed. Crashing cymbal smacks syncopate down into garage-infused drum rolls as bass line quivers struggle to catch up before it changes yet again, endlessly chasing a mirage of percussive illusion. It won’t feel illusory though, but hard-hitting, capable of morphing into any form imaginable and always landing with precision right as you think it won’t. Raw indeed.

“I had the craziest dream last night”. Whether this is Detboi subtly admitting to the inspiration for this EP is unknown, but it kicks off the final chapter in disconsolate tones. More of a slow build but not plodding by any means, Fragile is a 9-minute-long stormer, capturing the essence of this release from start to finish. Absent any vocals or high-pitched synths, that end of the range gets filled in with tinny stabs and creaks, layering in a mechanical feel over abstract abstention. Aggressively sluggish, listening is akin to wading through a swamp of mud with no shoes on as it feels strangely nice yet you’re always on the lookout for broken glass. I highly doubt many producers would be capable of creating a 9-minute long song without boring their listeners, let alone purely relying on basslines and breaks.

Secrets will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way. There’s something uniquely thrilling about it because you have simply no idea what the next 10, 20 or 120 seconds will bring; there’s no predictable structure or routine; no pre-conceived notions of what should or will come next. Everything feels like a smorgasbord of creative outflows running through a thunderstorm, a driven, gritty drive around the brain of Metalheadz’s darkest nightmares. I can imagine Goldie waking up drenched in a cold sweat, the tones of Claws or Skin Deep chasing him into consciousness; the sort of nightmare you almost enjoy because it tells you something interesting.

That’s Secrets. Pick it up on iTunes now.


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