In one swift cunning move Nero has catapulted themselves into electro’s elite. Their long-anticipated debut album, Welcome Reality is nothing short of masterful; 20 tracks interwoven give the listener a complete experience from beginning to end. After becoming a mainstay at the biggest electronic music festivals across the globe, Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray have clearly taken the time and care to produce a quality album; aspiring and established producers alike should take note.
Make sure your hands and feet are inside the vehicle at all times because right from the get go “2808” & “Doomsday” embarks you on an incomprehensible journey through time and space. Those unmistakable dominator synths lead me to expect Doomsday to be a staple for dubstep DJs to get any crowd live as fuck from the first spin. I wouldn’t be surprised if that song was played in London at a listening party for the album and was the root cause of all hell breaking loose. (Too soon, I know, fuck me.).
The two bring vocalist (and Stephen’s wife) Alana Watson along again on “My Eyes” for a slower paced song that utilizes a strong guitar riff behind the filth. Watson’s the voice behind “Me and You,” “Innocence,” “Promises,” and “This Way.” Her wonderful voice gives the tracks a grandiose (I refuse to use the term ‘epic’) feel, one that undoubtedly is very much involved with the commercial appeal Nero has received thus far. She’s also featured on the single “Guilt,” which makes my insides tingle like a 14 year old spotting Skrillex at Cosmic Bowling. I’m sure hearing that being performed live will be nothing short of epic (Goddamnit). After smashing your brains in with bangers, they slow things down a bit about halfway through with “In The Way” and “Scorpion.” The change of pace is kinda like when Trinity gives Neo some clothes and begins to explain what the fuck is going on.
But don’t relax for too long… they jump right back into it with their popular re-work of The Jets’ Crush On You. It’s listed as Crush On You rather than a remix of the original so I’m guessing they got the sampling rights. “Must Be The Feeling” is my favorite and, in my opinion, most unique track on the album. It mixes a disco/dancy/funk sound with the heavy dubstep bass and it’s fucking awesome. I’m really looking forward to any artists that try to mix these two sounds together. “Promises” gets reworked from the version we’ve heard with Skrillex, giving it a more DnB feel. Can’t say I like it better, but it’s its own entity. You’ll notice “Angst” as the intro to their Essential Mix, the edit of Justice’s “Stress.”
The most impressive part of this project is the overall cinematic feel to it. All the songs lead into the next the way a hip-hop mixtape does which makes it great to listen to in one sitting. Songs like “New Life” make me feel ‘like someone slipped some LSD in my lemonade’ (SG). I stand by my claim that many electronic artists have perfected their sounds to a point of cinematic effect. The Chemical Brothers & Daft Punk have had the pleasure of using their star appeal to dive into the movie realm, and there are a handful of other artists that really possess the ability to compose a masterful movie score that could turn an average movie into a really good one (and attract loads of more viewers). I think it’s time for new age musicals, the visual depiction of the images our ears provide our brains. Imagine special FX choreographed to the sounds… they might have to start checking for drugs at theaters.
Nero’s previous releases and singles have been C+A+D favorites for a while now; for me it began with their Essential Mix and was cemented with multiple jaw-dropping live performances. I’m glad they’ve taken their previous hits and re-worked, organized, and mixed it in with new tracks and the overall feel of the album. The result is a detailed compilation of their work thus far. They’ve set the bar high for full-length bass albums. Purchase it here!
3. My Eyes
5. Fugue State
6. Me and You
8. In the Way
11. Must Be the Feeling
12. Reaching Out
15. Angst (Deluxe)
16. Welcome Reality VIP (Deluxe)
17. This Way (Deluxe)
18. New Life (Deluxe)
19. Choices (Deluxe)
20. Symphony 2808 (Deluxe)