Terror Danjah  - Dark Crawler (Hyperdub)
CD/DL/LP
Out Now

It’s probably safe to say we don’t really cover much in the way of grime over here on Louder Than War. However Terror Danjah’s latest album, released on the excellent Hyperdub label, has received quite a lot of rave reviews so we decided it’d be nice to get a review of it up here. Chris Hearn, virtually a grime virgin, was given the album to see what he thought of it. Turned out he was quite impressed.

Well, this was a new one on me. I mean, of course I’ve heard this style of music, but never listened too closely to what was going on with it. I have no idea even what the genre is. Apparently this stuff is grime and dub and whatever. I don’t know. Half of the descriptions of this album on the PR release don’t even make sense to me! I mean, take this one for example: ““Dark Gremlinz” featuring DOK is a classic peak-era asymmetric grime instrumental.” What? If you know what that means, that I bow down to you!

So is the music good? Well, I don’t know what the benchmark is, but yeah, you know what, it’s pretty good. Do you ever listen to something and wonder “How the heck did that come out of someone’s brain??” That’s what I felt while listening to some of the songs here. There is a dark, horror theme going on, which I like. This seems to me like a late night, dark streets of some decrepit part of a city, icy breath, looking out for something that is out there to get you while you are wearing a dark hoody kind of music. I suppose it could be considered a concept album of sorts?

Personally, I wish this album was left free of vocals; just music. The music itself stands up very well on its own, and the vocals sometimes just get in the way and distract from some of the interesting stuff that is going on … the blips, bleeps and interesting little sounds that he puts into his songs. He seems very detail oriented when it comes to his sound.

There are three “versions” of the title track, “Dark Crawler”, featuring music that would fit in well in a Jason Statham action scene. Version one features Riko Dan (a Grime MC according to his bio on Grimepedia. Who knew THIS existed?). I can’t say I like what he’s doing here, but I think this is a personal bias against this particular type of rap sound. It just kind of gets under my skin a wee bit. And, I really can’t say I like the video for the song either.

Version two, featuring Mayhem, Deadly and Saf One is a bit more agreeable with me and would be my favourite of the three. It seems to have a harder edge in a US “thug” style. Version three featuring Trim and Kozzie is like a cross between version one and two and thus I have mixed feelings about it.

Then we get to some R and B? Apparently. “You Make Me Feel” featuring Meleka is not too bad. Again, not a style I am overly fond of, but for what it is, I think it’s decent. But I prefer “Delicately” featuring Ruby Lee Rhyder. She has a great voice, and I like the more smooth jazz sound she has, and over scattered “grimy” music it’s really interesting. Again, I think the music stands on its own, and would probably be better without vocals, but that’s just me.

In the end, you know what, for a style I generally avoid, this is an album I will probably listen to again, especially instrumental tracks like “Mirrors”. The music really is quite good. It’s always interesting to listen to new stuff out of my comfort zone like this. You could say I am impressed with Mr. Danjah and his merry men and women, or, I suppose I should say “crew”? Or maybe “posse”? I have no idea.

“Dark Crawler” is available on CD/LP or can be downloaded from the Hyperdub website here. You can find Terror Danjah on twitter and on Facebook. Enjoy!

All words by Chris Hearn. You can read more from Chris on LTW here.

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