Undeniably one of the most impressive and active labels over the last five years, Infernal Sounds marks that illusive 025 record with what can only be described as an era defining compilation. A long and arduous process I’m sure, the IFS crew have compiled an incredible track list so big that it’s presented in the form of not one, not two, but three hefty 12″ plates! Twelve tracks in length, ‘Crimson‘ LP welcomes a host of producers who’ve graced their presence on the label in the past, alongside a few new names who could be considered some of the best in the game right now. Not only is it an easy pick of the week, I also have the pleasure of presenting Fiend‘s effort who returns to the label with the high pressure, ‘Mantis‘.
Fiend‘s ‘Mantis‘ is perfectly placed as the ‘Crimson‘ LP opener. A visceral display of 140 power, an immediate confrontation with evil, the pressure is unrelenting and the sinister synth lines break through with menace, it serves as a devilish appetiser before Bukkha moves into the energetic, sub-driven stomps of ‘Inner Echo‘. With the first flip of the plate, we go stateside to the filthy textures and space-age tones of Subtle Mind‘s ‘Str8 Discreet‘, leaving a trail of alien goo and pressure driven cracks in it’s wake. Then, returning to the label for the first time since IFS003 and with more proficiency than ever, Causa does what Causa does best on ‘Zoo Chamber‘. Stripped back, he allows those nasty sub-stomps to do the talking with more filth than a Wetherspoon’s carpet.
And it’s onto the second vinyl already, opened by recent IFS signing Nova who returns with the dancefloor destructive basslines of ‘Calivate‘, alongside everyone’s favourite dubstep boyband Ternion Sound. The trio debuts on the label with one of my percys, ‘Fever Tree‘, a distinct blend of Ternion’s unmistakeable contemporary sounds with potent old-school flavours. From OG influences to an actual OG, Dark Tantrums finally unleashes long held dub ‘Gutta,’ to the delight of many dedicated heads I’m sure! With an LP of such quality, it’s only natural to start picking favourites and Oxossi‘s next contribution, ‘Wyldin‘, probably makes it into my top three. As Oxossi so consistently achieves, I’m always down for wild ‘n whacky sound palettes and ‘Wyldin‘ delivers this in buckets. Twisted melodies and absolutely fucked up switches, like many of his tunes, this thing is a hidden masterpiece. Japanese trail-blazers Karnage and Dayzero follow with the similarly spooky inflections of ‘Reincarnation‘. However, as the name suggests, the pair reach for the throwback sounds of nasty metallic bassline slides and spaced out half-step finesse, straight from the dark corners of East London circa 2008. Like many on this record, it’s an accurate demonstration of dubstep’s truly timeless sound. Another momentous collab arrives in the form of Drumterror making a first appearance on the imprint with someone more familiar to IFS, Darkimh. The pair deliver an intense, heady portion of distortion on the correctly named ‘Absurd‘, storming towards a final flip of the plate.
Seeing off the final side, Fearless Dread present their signature low end grooves and playful melodies on ‘Krispies‘ until we finish where we started; with absolute foundation crumbling subs thanks to ‘Propaganda‘, the inevitable super-collab between J:Kenzo and Sabab. An absolutely mammoth tune to conclude an absolutely mammoth record.
From the artists to the label and to the incredible artwork by regular IFS affiliate Emily Dayson, like many of IFS releases, a lot of love has clearly been put into this project. Not only is this a celebration of Infernal Sounds‘ longevity but also the genre as a whole. Between the producers and the mindboggling stylistic range, ‘Crimson‘ LP is an affirming reflection of the flourishing state of dubstep right now. If this doesn’t make you fall in love with ‘the sound’, then nothing will.
‘Crimson‘ LP is out 14/05/2021 and available on vinyl and download here.