Dreadzone – The Good, The Bad and the Dread (Dubwiser Records)

The Best Of Dreadzone The Good The Bad and The Dread high res packshot

You can’t fault a band that have stuck to their bass roots for the best part of 20 years. Fervently off-trend, Dreadzone helped to pioneer the UK bass sound at their formation in 1993, and inspite of being one of John Peel’s favourite bands, flirting briefly with the UK Top 40 with 1996 single ‘Little Britain’ (which meant it got on Now 33 – hands up who heard of Dreadzone because of this one track alone?) and dealing with some sad personal tragedy along the way, they have never taken their eye off their music. Last years Eye On The Horizon – their sixth studio album and first in 5 years – was a fitting nod towards this, and they now release The Best of Dreadzone – The Good, The Bad And The Dread at a time you feel is just about right.

They waste little time in representing arguably their most well-known tracks, with ‘Zion Youth’, ‘Little Britain’ and ‘Captain Dread’ (all from 1995’s sophomore release Second Light) out of the way by track 4. But across 16 tracks their career is well represented: 95’s single ‘Fight The Power’, which was never present on an album, is included; several tracks from each album make an appearance; and there’s an awareness that they only released Eye On The Horizon last year, with only 2 tracks used, including the sub-3 minute ‘Gangster’.

One might question why only two tracks from debut album 360° have been included, given that the album has not been available since the closing of Creation Records in 1999. It would have been a nice little pay off for fans familiar with their more famous material, and would have added impetus and relevance to a ‘Best Of’ release that is only 16 tracks long anyway.

‘Best Of’ albums aren’t particularly well respected, often even by the bands themselves. They’re always scatter-gun, taking big singles and removing them from the context they were originally in, sitting next to each other like 20 sore thumbs. But on The Good, The Bad And The Dread you have a band who have always made a fusion of influences – dub, ska, hip hop, jungle, and importantly the sampling techniques (vocally and musically) of dance and electronic music – meaning there is nothing jarring about this collection. It genuinely works as a listening experience.

Release date: 09/05/2011
[rating: 4]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.