Various Metro Breaks '99: Deeper Drum & Bass From Darkest Toronto

The first Metro Breaks compilation may have solidified Toronto's over-hyped reputation as the North American capital of drum & bass, but the material of the second volume is so much stronger, it doesn't even need the geographical signifier to give it creditability. It's a diverse selection of music, ranging from the Photek-like solitude of Tigger's "Tuesday," to the kitschy lounge vibe on Lazar Nesic's "Sweet Victory." The stabs of dark bass on Visionary's "Rising," and the flight of the killer bumble bees scored on Don Renk's "Hornet" comprise the harder side of the collection, but none of them unleash the kind of physicality that might parallel the music that comes out on labels like V and Full-Cycle in the UK. Dave Whalen's "Elastic Bass" sounds a lot like some of the stuff that DJ Krust has been playing out, but that's about it. This is not so much a dis as it is an indicator the differences between London and Toronto hardcore. There's an element in both scenes to rock the heavy-beat pressure, but for some reason there's a balance between sounds for the body and the mind on Metro Breaks. J. Hayne's inventive beat-slicing on "Newmelt" and Freedom's ethereal vocal dubs on "Pineangel" demonstrate that in their individual ways. Again, this also comes back to diversity. Kinder Atom embodies that to the fullest, with the roots reggae sound clash featuring Michael Rose on "Illegal" at the beginning of the disc, and the dreamy vibes of "Mmmm…" at the end. (Nice & Smooth)