It’s been 10 years since UK drum & bass star MUZZ’s first release, but it’s been well worth the wait for his debut album. ‘The Promised Land’ is finally ready for release via Monstercat, and it’s a bombastic ride through his widescreen vision of bass music.
The album is set in a futuristic sonic landscape, contrasting moods of darkness and euphoria; light and dark; heavy and subtle. At its core lies his trademark high-octane drum & bass epics, but this record sees him take his sonic palette and adapt it brilliantly to a range of tempos, rhythms and song structures. With a clutch of carefully-picked vocal guests providing strong songwriting and powerful performances, it’s a very complete and mature piece of work and is painstakingly structured to take the listener on a rollercoaster of emotions. Elements of rock, pop, dubstep, hip-hop and classical are woven throughout, making for an album where there’s never a dull moment;particularly when it’s all filtered through MUZZ’s pristine, hard-hitting production style.
From the soaring cinematic strings of instrumental opener ‘Valhalla’ into the trademark rowdy roll of ‘Nemesis’, and the feel-good half-time soulful vocal number ‘Start Again’, the album begins with a huge bang. MVE’s infectious vocals grace the powerful single ‘Out There’, leading on to the potent blend of old skool breaks and gnarly bass house of ‘Born For This’. Cammie Robinson’s sweet tones power euphoric synth-driven single ‘Star Glide’, while ‘The Sanctuary’ pushes MUZZ’s production to its limits, overflowing with fills and cuts and rasping bass tones. ‘Salvation’ is one of the album’s most distinctive moments, blending Bloodhounds’ heavy metal sound with pummelling D&B motifs. ‘The Warehouse’ see PAV4N and Miss Trouble bring hip-hop flavor to a dark, nasty beat, before Danyka Nadeau’s sweet vocals and soft piano chords arrive on the blissed-out ‘Somewhere Else’. Album closer ‘Catharsis’ features a usual suspect in MUZZ collaborations, Koven. Koven’s huge voice rocks an unusual reggaeton-flavored beat to great effect.
“I wrote ‘The Promised Land’ ultimately as a defining body of work where people can hone in on my musical style, my passion for deep storytelling and my diverse range of musical influences”, MUZZ says. “This album is my expansion from being recognised as just a drum & bass act — even though I was never about that from day one — as 5 of the 11 tracks are other genres and tempos. However, none of the drum & bass tracks on ‘The Promised Land’ are traditional; I’d describe every track on the album as being a hybrid of many genres, influences and styles.”