A great showcase for a much-maligned genre, says Danny Slade
GT Digital is a label that's committed to the furtherment of all things hard trance. With this aim in mind, they commissioned a select few producers of the dark arts to submit some new tracks for this compilation album, which is to be released towards the end of May.
There are 16 tracks in total. Opener Dream Of Eternity comes from Aponaut, and sets the tone nicely for what is to come: a barrage of hard, uplifting beats and a liberal dose of acidic sounds and sidechained basslines. I won’t go through the tracks individually as there are so many, including two versions of ConnecteD’s Valkyria: the Original, with a swirling atmospheric intro leading into a dark, throbbing beast of a tune, and a remix from Enjarjar with filthy pads, choral chants and a distorted piano lead-line.
There are tracks by some of the old guard - like Sully’s Darkest Night, with its intricate percussion, risers and pulsing acid lines - and by newer producers such as Locanda & Kuznetsow, whose Ghost & Darkness has clever vocal samples, booming kickdrums and an eerie, piano-led breakdown. There's even a track from the legendary lord of all things hard, Mark EG, who's teamed up with D4ryl to produce Angels In Ecstasy with its arpeggiated licks, high-pitched synth lead-line and euphoric breakdown, and who's also provided a mixed version (which you can hear below).
For existing hard trance fans this album is a must, while if you're new to the genre, it's the ideal opportunity to discover a style of music that's often misunderstood as the bastard offspring of hard dance and hardstyle – which it most definitely isn't, as it's a lot better than one genre and predates the other! If you want to experience a bespoke set of 16 masterclasses in the art of hard trance production, this album is a great little collection.
Words: Danny Slade
Release date: 22 May
Review Score: 8