Dreadzone has been dropping beats and infusing their dub and reggae sound with all things electronic for over twenty years. For their 8th album and the third release on their own Dubwiser label, the band continue their long tradition of creating their own dance roots music.
For those new to the Dreadzone groove, the band was birthed by former Big Audio Dynamite drummer Greg Roberts (AKA Greg Dread) and went on to have a string of hits in the 90s and even drew the attention of John Peel who often sighted Second Light as one of his favourite albums.
Dread Times enlists the help of other BAD band mates bringing the album full circle; Don Letts offers lyrical contributions and the album has been recorded once again at Mick Jones' studio.
Alternating between deep dub grooves and more lively dance tracks the record comes over as fragments from an all night rave. The steady drum samples of Rootsman ease us into Dread Times with a hypnotic old skool, slow-mo feel. Mountain has a similar vibe but begins to add other roots flavours that will grow more prominent throughout the album.
Things get a little more intense with Escape and the buzzing 16 Holes which picks up a more traditional four on the floor drum pattern, giving it more of a techno feel. This leads into Black Deus which again dips into slower acid house style mix. Music Army pulls in more of those roots fusions in a Celtic, Reggae fusion alongside that classic Dreadzone pulsating beat. Ragga duo Louchie Lou and Michie One change the record totally with a nod to modern dancehall and ska beats.
Never Going Back changes things once again with a mystical performance from Lena Cullen. The track stands out as the most commercially appealing on offer, with plenty of electro and drum and bass style beats to energise the album.
At times the beats feel lazy, at others downright intense, but even at their most lethargic they are still enough to encapsulate you into their trance-like dub rhythms.
Groupie Rating 3/5