The Qemists - Spirit In The System
"Spirit In The System" is the second album from London based drum and base band The Quemists. Originally from Brighton, the band consists of bassist Dan Arnold, drummer Leon Harris and guitarist Liam Black. Since they came into the public eye back in 2006 with a remix of Coldcut's 'Everything Is Under Control', they have continued to experiment with their unique mixture of techno, rock, drum & bass and dubstep. Their latest offering features a lot of guest appearances including Enter Shakiri, Jenna G, MC ID and The Automatic's Rob Hawkins.
The opening track is 'Take It Back' featuring Rou from Enter Shikari. Swelling synths are soon joined by thundering drums and bass, all with a rock rhythm. By the end you feel as though you've been beaten up; not subtle at all. 'Hurt Less' featuring Jenna G follows. This begins with more synths, though much slower and melodic. Jenna G's voice is quite pleasant and the track turns into an almost 1990's pop song. There's a good driving rhythm here and some nice vocal effects.
Matt Rose and Bruno Balanta feature on 'Dirty Words'. Some nice flowing bass and blipping synth sounds introduce the track. Soon the heavy guitar and drums slam in. This is totally different from what has gone before; this is rock with a rap diversion somewhere in the moddle. The contrast changes totally again with 'Renegade' featuring Maxsta, complete with vocoder. This soon develops into dubstep/grime.
Chantal (of Invasion) features on the next track, 'Fading Halo'. This begins with some strings over a nice clear piano before Chantel bellows out her laments. The track then develops into a straight drum & bass track. The turn of MC ID comes with 'The Only Love Song'. Again, the synth intro is apparent before the heavy drum and bass enter with the chanting, almost anthemic vocals. It does get confusing half way through with a mish-mash of vocals, though successfully gets it all back in line.
'Life's Too Short', 'Apocalypse' featuring Rob Hawkins (of The Automatic) and 'Your Revolution' all follow. Pretty much in the same vein as previous; there's mixing of styles and tempos, but always returning to thunderous bass lines and crashing drums.
As a whole the album kept pretty much to a hard drum & bass / rock backdrop throughout, sprinkled with the inevitable synths, repeated sampled vocals and noises. It is in your face music though it does have a lot of deeper sounds if you really concentrate. It's an album that will take more than one listen to get the most from and one that will surely sell well.