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Review of Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
An Introduction To Skrillex
Skrillex has been in the music industry for YEARS. Previously known to many as Sonny Moore, lead singer in post-hardcore / screamo band From First To Last (which he joined at the tender age of 16), he left after 2 albums to concentrate on his solo material. After releasing an EP named 'Gypsyhook', and a few supporting tours, he quit producing his debut album 'Bells', rebranded himself under the Skrillex moniker, and brought out an EP, 'My Name Is Skrillex' for free on his MySpace page. This, his first physical release, was released in late 2010 and only really recently been receiving success recently.
I'm a huge fan of Skrillex...
I've been a fan of his for years, listening to tracks through YouTube, and downloading various bootlegs and demo recording from his fansites, so I was really anticipating the release of this 9-track mini album. As his first physical release available in the UK, it certainly doesn't fail to disappoint. The jury is still out there whether his music is classed as dubstep, electro, or house, but this is an album that really can't be pigeonholed into just one genre. Constantly shifting between styles, tempos, and influences, it can't ever fail to keep the listener guessing for the next move, only to be thrown aback when the next bar of music reveals itself to be something completely different.
Rock And Roll
(will take you to the mountain)
"Hello again, to all my friends. Together we can play some rock and roll" is the first lyrics in the song. Skrillex is personally inviting you back to his music. This of course is his second release, after the free EP 'My Name Is Skrillex', which was released to critical acclaim. The intro might start off like 'just any other' commercial dance song might; fast, but relatively tame, until the drop hits less than a minute in, leaving you with no option but to get up and throw some ridiculous dance moves. Don't worry about your eardrums bleeding, deal with that later.
Each bar of the track offers something completely unexpected, it might sound like its building up to another big drop, but said drop might kick in sooner than you'd expect, or heavier than you could possibly imagine.
"Rock And Roll" Video
Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
This is pretty much the score with every track. You might think he's going to dip into a slow, brooding, dubstep song, but when the track fully gets going, if you don't keep up it's going to leave you behind. This song is almost schitzophrenic in nature, venturing into unexplored territory, several times, before it ends. This track is no exception. The intro is a slow and ambient affair, maybe to give the listener a breather after the first track. Until less than 40 seconds in, a scream of "Oh My God" reminds you that Skrillex doesn't 'do' ambient dance ballads. The following barrage of noise could only be compared to a psychotic robot, in its last dying whir of machinery, dragging itself through mud to catch up with its wounded human target.
Just 2 tracks in, its clear to hear that this album is relentless and unstoppable. If keeping up with the music is wearing you out, don't worry. You'll get a split second before track 3 to catch your breath
If you were unsure of Skrillex's ambition to destroy you, and everything you stand for, 'Kill Everybody' will confirm it for you. It begins again, with a slow but menacing intro, until a robotic female voice kindly lets you know "I want to kill everybody in the world, I want to eat your heart". Thanks for that, if I wasn't already scared than I am now! BAM! Track kicks in, ripping your heart out of your chest. Well, she did warn you. There's nothing else for it, you'll just have to dance, as best you can without that heart to keep time (not that the album really sticks to any time signature anyway)
All I Ask Of You
Its OK, take a breather for this track. Skrillex has given you a few minutes off to catch your breath. This track is one of the more predictable ones on the album, as in there's no irregular curveballs thrown in to catch you off guard. It's less heavier than what we've heard so far. Still a great song, but there's less menace to it. Vocalist Penny supplies vocals that are almost beautiful in places, turning the volume and pace down a little
British Rap/Grime group Foreign Beggars accompany Skrillex in this track, bringing the album back down to its dirty, grimy levels that its wallowed in previously. Although the music itself isn't as fast paced as 'Kill Everybody', the rap vocals brings that back up to speed. Again, the unpredictable jazz moments make a return here, making the track hard-hitting and dark
Scatta (featuring Foreign Beggars) video
With You Friends
Not including the remix tracks after this, 'With You Friends (long drive)" is the album closer. Skrillex is aware that maybe he's been a little harsh on you, so everything's been turned back down again. The first part of this album is almost chillout and ambient in places. A lot of piano and autotune is featured, slowing down the pace but still keeping his unpredictable ethics in place. The keyboard solo is worth looking out for halfway through the track too. Four minutes in, the track turns into a full-on dance number, still chilled but more upbeat, and that piano features prominently too
After 'With You Friends (long drive' signs off with "Bye, Love You, Miss You!" the remix tracks begin. If you thought the onslaught was over, think again. The next 3 tracks will tear apart whatever was left of your tired, bloodstained body. Dutch dance madmen Noisia turn "Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites" on its head, adding sharp rusty spikes and vicious looking chainsaws into what is already a gruesome vehicle of death. German Electro producer Zedd gives the same track a slightly slowed-down feel, like being trapped in a thick bubble caught in a tornado, narrowly missing cows and bits of rubble.
But the defining moment in brutality comes in the final track, a dirty, nasty remix of what is already a dirty, nasty track. Bare Noize remixing 'Kill Everybody.' Its as if a tiger with a vengeance against hunters was given a shotgun and a rucksack of shells. The track gives you less than a minute to say goodbye to loved ones and get your affairs in order, before it literally strips you apart. If this track was personified, you wouldn't dare spill its drink
Kill Everybody (Bare Noize remix)
Buy Skrillex at Amazon
Of course, if you're feeling strong of will, you can of course purchase the album from Amazon and make your own mind up. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Skrillex on Social Networks
What are your thoughts on the album? Or on my lens? Feel free to leave a comment!