component records has scored two big names for its first vinyl release (outfitted with very appropriate abstract robotic design). both gridlock and panacea are among the most well-known musicians working in the darker, more industrial spectre of genres that could be loosely described as crossing the boundaries between idm, breakcore and techstep.
as of late, gridlock is steadily gaining more and more recognition through compilation appearances and split releases that further widen its established style (connected series on klangkrieg, 12" on zod, absolutely brilliant remix for displacer's full length, appearance on latest component records compilation). at the same, as I am waiting for the new album, I cannot shake off the feeling that the band is somewhat lost in its search for the "new" sound - along with the outstanding tracks that rival emotional complexity of funckarma and intensity of post-industrial technoid acts, gridlock releases material that does not live up the standards established by the duo itself.
this is exactly the case with "bring out your dead" track on this split - it is incredibly addictive, high-quality example of breakcore/drum&bass mix that features the "standard" collection of obligatory sci-fi samples, dark atmospheric strings and thumping bassline (even the title itself confirms my idea of "mimicking"). were this released back in the days along with dryft's debut cd, it would have been an instant hit, however at this point in time it is nothing more than an excellent example of the genre and nothing else. however, I am inclined to say that this is more a limitation of the style itself rather than musicians' shortcoming.
for past few years I have dismissed any panacea output for being nothing more than a slick money-making instrument, pumping out faceless overproduced material. I figured that as long as panacea provides the means for the existence of projects like rich kid (watch out for the upcoming release on ad noiseam) and squaremeter, there is nothing wrong with it. it is silly to whine about the "good old days" of low profile darkness - it was a seminal album that belonged to its time. having said that, "when panacea strikes" seems to be almost a gimmick (admittedly, very well done), catering to those clinging to the past.
perhaps one can view this record as a tribute to the "old days," when dark and dirty drum&bass started its triumphant ascend, later on giving birth to breakcore genre. nowadays any material that tries to conform to these stylistic restrictions is bound to sound dated at best. on the other hand, this is an excellent move on the part of component records, undeniably helping to promote and establish the label even further.