Release Date: Dec 13, 2011
Record label: Cherrytree Records / Interscope
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
Welcome Reality is subtle as a brick, but that’s where its charm lies. It is a big, dumb, loud bit of dubstep, the genre everyone seems to be ready to let die now that Britney Spears has had the audacity (the nerve!) to use it in one of her singles. The album has been out since August, and features singles that have been floating around since 2010, but it is just now attracting attention due to its highly successful execution of a full-on front-to-back original dubstep experience.
The idea of creating a score for a fictional film is nothing new, but London producer Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray, aka Nero, are perhaps the first act from the increasingly dominant dubstep scene to tackle such an ambitious concept with their debut album, Welcome Reality. Right from the ominous proggy opener of "2808," the year their post-apocalyptic "movie" is set in, it appears that they are up for the challenge. Having recently collaborated with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on an equally adventurous project, the pair are no strangers to epic symphonies, and the likes of the thunderous "Doomsday," a Dizzee Rascal-esque fusion of stinging guitars, filthy basslines, and techno beats, the euphoric arms-in-the-air instrumental closer "Departure," and the atmospheric, echo-laden "Scorpions" are all underpinned by the kind of grandiose orchestral flourishes that made Vangelis a household name.
Despite being nominated as one of this year's “promising new artists” on the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll, Nero have actually been making music since as early as 2002. In the nine years it's taken to release their debut album, the duo's sound has evolved significantly from underground drum and bass to epic, melody-driven dubstep. And they appear to have found themselves a lot of fans in the process, recently notching up their first number one single in the UK with Promises and looking set to achieve a UK number one album with Welcome Reality.
There's a longstanding tradition that an artist who starts their own record company will use it to sign artists in their own image: they don't call them vanity labels for nothing. So it is that the big signing to London-based commercial drum'n'bass/dubstep duo Chase and Status's MTA Records is the London-based commercial drum'n'bass/dubstep duo Nero. The two acts share the same grasp of dynamics – which is one way of saying they they think subtle is a village in the Languedoc – but there's the distinct suggestion that Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray might have loftier ambitions than their sponsors.
YOUNG JEEZY “TM: 103 Hustlerz Ambition” (CTE/Def Jam) The Atlanta that Young Jeezy returns to with his fourth album, “TM: 103 Hustlerz Ambition,” isn’t like the one he left behind on his last album, three years ago, or the one he helped to define on his 2005 debut record. Once was a time when his grisly tales of the cocaine seller’s life felt shocking and new, but hip-hop and Atlanta have moved past that to new things. At this point Young Jeezy is an éminence grise, the village elder.
Commercial dubstep for listeners with more interest in Basshunter than Burial. Lou Thomas 2011 Since their feted 2009 remix of The Streets’ Blinded by the Lights, London dance duo Nero have built themselves a steady reputation as producers operating at the commercial end of dubstep and drum’n’bass. Now, some six years after their first release, the pair of Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray have finally realised their own album.