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Various Artists

I've been following Rephlex Records for some time now and even though they sometimes drop some of the most weirdly unexpected stuff (like Bodenstandig 2000's Maxi German Rave Blast Hits 3), I still respect them simply because they're releasing music that's pushing boundaries. Despite their best intentions of pitching this release as a batch of groundbreaking new work, though, I simply can't get past the feeling that I've heard it all before.

Heck, the inside of the sleeve of this release drops three different names (Grime, Sublow, Dubstep) for the music contained within, but to me it all still sounds like techy breakbeat. Although there's obviously an update in terms of production quality and complexity, the sound are all oddly familar. There are string stabs here, super dirty basslines there, and even the uncorking of some old-school samples for prime effect. Basically, the release consists of 4 tracks from three different artists, and the selection is sort of a an overview of the genre that is apparently burgeoning at the moment. MarkOne opens the disc with "Stargate 92," and it's actually one of the more effective tracks on the entire release. Rolling with rattling low-end and some skitting breakbeats, the track progresses in an increasingly sinister way and I could definitely see it fueling some all-night sweatfests on the dancefloor. "Raindance" takes things in a different direction with vocal samples and clipped horns and builds in a fairly standard way before dropping off into a seriously dark midsection.

Plasticman (similar in name only) brings up the mid-section of the release and although the energy is again dark and foreboding it's hard to simply get past much of the old-school rave sounds. "Pump Up The Jam" takes a vocal sample from the track of the same name by Technotronic and twists it to fit the dirtier designs while "Industrial Graft" mixes in (you guessed it) some clanging metallic sounds alongside the gritty basslines and stutterstepping beats. Slaughter Mob brings up the end of the disc with a slightly more dub-influenced sound, and even though they're pulling from another genre that's been stretched at the seams, they seem to make things sound more interesting with their combination. Their opening contribution of "Dub Weapon" is a brutal track that reminds me of something I'd hear DJ/Rupture threading through one of his killer mixes. There's no doubt that most of the tracks on Grime swing a mean groove, but unless you're a newbie (or an absolute junkie for) similar genres, it might not blow your socks off.

Rating: 5.75