- Des McGouran made a crater-sized impression two years ago on Keysound with "Scatter," the most impressive slab of 130-BPM breakbeat since Tessela scrambled brains with "Hackney Parrot." The Irish producer has since moved to Metalheadz and started exploring 170 BPM, a side of his music that comes to life on the weighty Secrets EP, where he attacks drum & bass with tension and release in mind. There's plenty of silence to make the loud parts feel louder—the drums hit in bursts instead of modern drum & bass's linear roll.
On "Claws," breaks land like waves of artillery fire, before a rousing second drop sends the track haywire. It's a rare drum & bass track that stays dynamic for more than six minutes. The other 170-BPM tune, "Secret Venom," tackles hardcore tropes with precision drums, and is as brutal as it is vibrant. On both tracks, anxious speech samples and wailing divas give McGouran's sound palette an old-school flavour, while its modern engineering inflicts maximum damage.
On the flip is "Skin Deep," a 130-BPM track that makes up for its lack of speed with chunky drums. Two digital bonus tracks offer tantalizing hints of jungle, with whiplash breaks and a bulldozing Reese bassline. They round off one of Metalheadz' most exciting recent EPs. It's a high-tech update on some of the label's fiery early records, building on Metalheadz' legendary legacy rather than rehashing it.
A1 Secret Venom
B2 Skin Deep