A warm Welcome for Nero

Dillon Aubin

British music duo Nero exploded onto the electronic scene when their debut album Welcome Reality was released this past August. Members Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray have been composing and remixing music since 2005, but after this release, they received extensive media coverage and promotion. An attentive listen to Welcome Reality reveals that Nero are deserving of their recent fame, and are arguably the best electronic act of the year.

The strongest quality of Welcome Reality is that it cannot be tied to one subgenre of electronic dance music. The album does not dwell on the overused conventions of a single style, but combines the best elements of several. Dubstep, house, drum and bass, and even orchestral music are all prevalent throughout the release.

Another interesting element of Welcome is the vocal performances by singer Alana Watson. Her sensual voice enhances the music and contributes to the melodic accessibility of pop and vocal trance.

The combination of styles creates a sound that is original, but at the same time, not completely foreign to listeners of electronic music. Fans of any popular subgenre can appreciate the album to some degree. Tracks like “Innocence” have the intensity of dubstep, but at the same time, use vocals to avoid the genre’s conventional repetitive monotonic drone. Another example is the track “Doomsday”, a danceable house song with an orchestral introduction and a powerful bass drop.

Though the album combines several genres, it avoids being a compilation of various unrelated tracks. A general consistency is maintained through Welcome from beginning to end. An ambience of a dystopian future radiates from each track individually. This type of atmosphere is not only apparent in Nero’s song titles, but also their music videos, the album art, and even the clothes the members wear in promo pictures.

Consistency is also preserved within the production of the album. Stephens and Ray demonstrate an extensive understanding of music production, which connects each song consecutively. This is done through a constant drum sound and similar-sounding MIDI settings and effects.

Even though consistency is maintained through production and aesthetics, there is a slight inconsistency in quality. None of the songs are explicitly horrible, but there is a noticeable difference between certain songs. Listeners may find themselves skipping to their favourite tracks rather than listening to it in full—this takes away strength from the album as a single unit.

All criticisms aside, Welcome Reality is a solid release. Though not flawless, it is still worthy of praise for its style and consistency. Nero have an excellent start to their career. Hopefully they maintain this quality in future releases.


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By Excalibur Publications



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