As we’ve announced mid last month, the legend Zany was in the studio to create an album inspired by Hardstyle’s roots and by productions made in past years. This album is called DNA and was released late last month. We’ve had a listen to it and there are many interesting things on these amazing productions. So without further ado, we jump in a journey through time…

The album starts with the track Wolf. A recurring theme in Hardstyle that immediately got my attention. It’s a great track to kickstart the album as it is very energetic and has an addicting melody. The distinctive element here is the simple backing melody on part of the second climax that contributes positively for the whole darker environment of the track.

The second track is Down On The Floor and counts with the unmistakable vocals of another legend in the scene: DV8. This one connects rather well with the previous track as it is a simple but effective track that aims to get you moving on the dancefloor with a heavy kick and an addicting melody that fills in the speakers. The lyrics describe what’s this album all about…

It’s the old school flavor with a brand new vision

We then have the rework of a Zany classic, Endless, that was featured back in 2008 in the artists’ The Fusion Of Sound album. This is a rework in the true sense of the word as the basic structure of the track remains untouched, and its whole vibe remains exactly the same, starting straight away with Maruja Retana’s astonishing vocals and with that seemingly endless melody that stretches throughout the whole climax. The difference here is that every single element of the track is more easily distinguishable and pops unlike the original, giving it that extra bit of energy and making it even more pleasing to the ears when listening at home.

The fourth track is Outer Limits. This one starts with an opera-like vocal that immediately gets your attention. The soothing parts end up in a climax with a thumping kick unlike anything you see nowadays. The second climax opts for adding a very pleasing bassline, and it is this difference from a “drier” kick and bass combination to a “wetter” one that’s the distinguishable element here.

We then go for Beat Machine! Zany managed to give a very cold and mechanical feel to this track, starting with the effects in the intro that make it feel like sound is moving from one speaker to the other. Before the drop there’s another distinctive element, the robotic-like vocal sample. You’re then led to a drop that has screeches that contribute to the overall feel of the track, making you feel like you’re in a studio, surrounded by all kinds of drum machines, synthesizers and speakers producing sounds. This one’s rather outside the box, and a very interesting track to hear.

The sixth track is The Spirit. If you’ve somewhat kept track of Fusion’s releases in the last few years you’ll immediately recognize the vocals from Omagetypez’s track with the same name from 2012. This is another track that would definitely wreak havoc back in the days! And it is always interesting to see the same vocals worked differently on several tracks.

We then move on with The Real World. This track starts with a strong message: we cannot think too much, otherwise we may immerse ourselves in our thoughts and lose track of what actually matters and what’s actually surrounding us. The track is centered in the vocals, but there are other interesting elements here, like the melody that gives the impression of being “sidechained” with the kick and bass.

…through excessive thinking they have lost touch with reality…

The next track speaks for itself…

I just can’t believe all the things people say, why must I deal with this shit every fucking day…

Sometimes there should be a mute button in real life, right? That’s what Every Day is all about. The track has a general “downer” mood, and it is mostly anti climatic to reflect this, with a kick that’s somewhat “softer” than everything else in the album and that’s heavily focused on its bass, instead of being thumpy or impacting. The track blows up at the end. Because eventually one blows up with all the non sense that’s everywhere, right?

The next track sees B-Front joining Zany for some some old school flavored acid sounds and the dark atmospheres we’re used to from B-Front! Humanity is probably the track that best represents the earlier Fusion Records sound. After all, these are the two names that built Fusion’s reputation at its highest. This one counts with an indescribable energetic feel!

The 10th track is The Creator. The theme of this track is another recurring topic in Hardstyle vocals: drugs and its effects. The very distinctive element here is the opera-like vocals that seem to chant “Zany!”. The lead melody seems to “match” the kick in pace, something that really gives the track a lot of energy. The kick and bass is in no way a copy of any other track, but when listening to this one I cannot help but notice some resemblance to the Alpha2 Remix of Yellow Minute, another very well known Fusion release from back in 2010.

The 11th track had to exist, as such an album couldn’t miss a collaboration with Donkey Rollers! There’s not much to say here – a simple track that focuses on having a thumpy kick and a captivating atmosphere. As the vocals say, “we rise from the shadows of Hardstyle”, and indeed, this kind of sound was in need of being risen from its dark resting place again.

We finish off with a track that has vocals from Alee, named We Got The Streets. We end the album with a bang: Alee’s vocals are very loud and clear within the mix, with a strong kick following them.

As a closing remark to this review, we can say that nostalgia is something that both sells and helps move Hardstyle in the last few years with the appearance of Classic/Early themed events and stages. So this album’s release had a good timing, and an album like this is always welcome, especially by the most nostalgic ones like myself.

There’s nothing “new” here. Don’t expect to listen to any kind of novelty – this album is all about nostalgia and it does it really well. It transports you to an era of Hardstyle that happened 10 years ago. The sounds, the melodies, the kick and bass, they’re all what you’d expect from a production made back then, but with the final polishing done up to today’s modern standards. An absolute ode to an era that many people in Hardstyle hold close to their hearts.

These are the kind of things that make us look back in time and we can see the wild ride we’ve been on and how Hardstyle changed. After all, we cannot forget where we came from in order to move forward!

[REVIEW] Zany goes deep into Hardstyle's DNA in his new album
Favorite Tracks
  • Humanity
  • Wolf
  • Beat Machine
Least Favorite Tracks
  • We Got The Streets
7.2Overall Score

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