Monday, 28 February 2011

REVIEW - Super Eurobeat Vol. 211

SUPER EUROBEAT VOL. 211 - Complete review

Label: SCP
Duration: 03:52

What better way to start off the new Super Eurobeat decade with a bang than with a bit of male SCP aggression?  This track has been on International iTunes for a while now, but its inclusion here sees its first official Japanese release.  For me, this track highlights everything that is great about SCP.  We have the modern synth instrumentation - sharp, brassy synth leads teams with crisp bass sounds and dreamy background layers.  We also have the really strong vocals that are delivered with the kind of vigour that used to see Go 2 at the very top of the Eurobeat tree.  For me, melodies are the key to a monster hit, and this track has sweet melodies in abundance.  My particular highlight is the gradual ascension in the second half of the bridge section, when the bass line becomes more urgent and the other synths drop out - a perfect tension builder to the chorus!  The synth hook itself reminds me a lot of late 90's/early 00's dance sounds that came out of genres such as Spanish Makina.  Having already bought the SCP Eurobeat Version from iTunes, I was a little disappointed to hear the unique little drum bashing intro had been taken out in favour of a more standardised "middle-8" style intro - there was no reason in my mind to change it at all.  But that aside, this track is a perfect introduction to a new SEB decade, and it sees SCP back towards the top of the heap where they belong.

Score: 9.75/10 (the regular intro would have made this a 10/10)

Label: SinclaireStyle
Duration: 05:11

Wow, talk about a bad-ass guitar solo!!  And we're only at the start of the intro!  I really wish Sinclaire would stick to this more aggressive masculine style as it suits his production skills far more than the watery female tracks.  When the beat drops here, and the guitar bounces angrily along with the bass and kick drum, there is a real primal energy about this track and it never fails to draw me in and want to hear more.  When the trademark Sinclaire synths spark into life, we are in slightly more familiar territory, but the raw power and energy represented in the beats and background guitars are never far away.  Vocally, you could never claim that the Sinclaire staff could ever compete technically with the SCP or Dima vocalists, but what they do know is how to deliver a killer melody.  I don't actually see why this was made into a duet, as there is really not any need for two voices in this track - Bon could have managed perfectly well on his own (for me, the track suits his style slightly better).  During the middle section, we are treated to yet another guitar solo that is a treat to our ears - especially when you consider the lack of good ones from recent SEB albums.  By the end of the track, I am ready to take this joyride all over again - it really is an adrenaline-fuelled treat!

Score: 9.75/10

Label: Delta
Duration: 05:23

The melancholy in the guitar wails during this intro are a nod to the pain and angst in the lyrics, but what surprises me is that the vast majority of the song doesn't quite wallow in its own depression as much.  In fact, the vocals are sprightly and full of life, the beats and instrumentation suggest a far happier subject matter and even the raspy synth hook sounds like it has been taken from a song about happiness and love.  Since I never picked up a copy of Best of Nonstop Eurobeat 2009, I'd never heard this track before this album's release, and so it still has a fresh appeal to me.  Clara's vocals haven't aged at all, and I think this is one of the more commercially-appealing melodies that she has performed.  I can even picture a music video for this track in my head with her starting in her apartment, getting bored, taking to the streets with her girlfriends and basically tearing up the town with her killer vocals and dance moves.  The main problem that I have with extended Delta productions nowadays - and this has only really become a major issue to me since I bought Eurobeat Master Vol. 21 online - is that the structure is more or less identical for every single song.  SCP is pushing the boundaries with song structures (albeit shortening them massively as well), but Delta seems stuck in a cookie-cutter phase where every song they produce seems to follow the same set pattern.  When they sound this catchy and melodically sound, it's perhaps not a massive issue, but it does also suggest that a bit more creativity wouldn't go amiss...

Score: 9/10

Label: Hi-NRG Attack
Duration: 05:03

I am a very big supporter of Hi-NRG Attack's new slower direction, as I feel that finally the melodies and songwriting are taking priority over the beats, power and crazy synths (which can be good in small doses, but get old pretty quickly too).  This track continues their run of hits with another absolutely storming Italo-style anthem.  The grunting guitar bursts in the intro really get my head bopping from the word go, and I can just feel the power and energy flowing from the speakers in to my ears and right through my body.  The arps and synth hits combine with the rich saw lead to create an intoxicating blend of rich melodies, and I'm in heaven before the first synth hook is even over.  The vocals are delivered in a more natural tone than we've been used to in old Hi-NRG Attack productions, and I just can't get over the difference that this makes to the effectiveness of the song.  I'm even considering going back through the label's back catalogue and slowing down the tracks to see if they all sound just as rich and dynamic as this.  The ever-present guitar roaring in the background of this song as well as the rumbling bass gives everything a very solid grounding, and they contrast nicely with the lighter vocals and pianos.  One sound that has taken a while for me to come around to is that bell synth during the bridge and chorus that doesn't sound quite in tune with the rest of the song.  Still, I can't dock points for that when the rest of the production is just so spectacular.  More please!!

Score: 10/10

05. JAY LEHR / FALLIN' IN LOVE AGAIN (Fashion Version)
Label: SCP
Duration: 03:36

Before this track was announced in the track list of Super Eurobeat 211, I was only aware of the SCP Eurobeat Version on iTunes which is of course a little bit faster with more synth hits and effects to make the whole thing more..."whooshy".  But I reckon this is one of the few occasions where I have found a Eurobeat remix to actually suit a song far better than the "original" version.  Stylistically, this is very much in the same vein as the Ace track "Wait For You" - the slower italo-disco style beats and more twinkly and sparkly synths create a much softer feel that SCP's more aggressive synth attacks used in their Eurobeat versions.  Jay's vocals sound very much at home in this setting - I've never been the biggest fan of his tone if I'm honest, but here he sounds very settled with the music, especially with the strong harmonies that run throughout the chorus.  While the overall song is painfully short - I just find myself properly getting in to it when the final 8 measures being - melodically, the verse and bridge section remind me a lot of the commercial 80's tracks from the likes of Jason Donovan at Stock, Aitken & Waterman.  I guess that's the key to this tracks success - it treads the line between more commercial 80's sounds and melodies that the general public as a whole could relate to while style having enough in there for the Italo purists.  It's hard to think of a time when Jay has sounded more contented - he's definitely established himself at the forefront of the labels future success.

Score: 9/10

Label: Sun Fire
Duration: 04:44

The ominous and threatening loops during the intro to this track and the "We Will Rock You"-style drum beat really sets you up for a raw and powerful musical experience, and to a certain degree, that's exactly what Dave Rodgers delivers!  This track is easily one of the best Sun Fire productions to date, but only because it borrows so much for the styles and sounds of the A-Beat C era.  The main synth hook reminds me so much of Mega NRG Man's hit from the early 100's "Grand Prix", while I also find myself singing the chorus of Dave's hit from the 160's "El Dorado" as soon as the chorus of this track kicks in.  I'm not saying that these tracks have been blatantly re-hashed in this song, but it sounds to me like a decent homage to their styles and melodies.  Vocally, Dave hasn't sounded majorly interested over recent releases, but that all changes with a snarling yet expertly controlled performance here - this is him at his very best.  The amazing job that is done by the production and guitars even makes me forgive a lot of the new percussion and bass sounds that Sun Fire insists in using - that digi bass in particular needs to go sooner rather than later.  I guess I've been waiting for a sign that the previous genius that A-Beat C could produce hadn't vanished with the name change, and this track - while not completely there yet - has proven that Mr. Rodgers still has it shed loads!!

Score: 9/10

Label: Hi-NRG Attack
Duration: 05:07

This track has taken a while to get me in the groove that it's playing, but I feel like I may gradually be warming to it.  The deep kick drum and slap bass during the intro sound fairly goofy, and it's all a bit minimalistic for my liking.  The piano groove is cool - reminds me of 90's piano house - and when the galloping bassline also drops in to the mix we are finally in a more familiar style.  One of the main issues I have with this track is that it sounds like two or three different tracks spliced together.  The very immediate sound of the saw lead doesn't quite marry in with the deep house grooves of the intro for example.  And the chorus of this track is also a bit of a sticky point for me, as it just seems to start without any real special build-up.  The bridge section seems to flow from the verse with no real change, and this is carried on in to the chorus without so much as a beat drop or significant change in the vocal intensity or melodic range.  I can pick out various production quirks that I do like - the way the track drops out at the end of the chorus sometimes to allow the guitar growl into the hook; the fact that we get to enjoy the more natural tone of the vocals rather than pitched-up helium style is also nice.  However, melodically and stylistically this plays everything a bit safe for me and I don't believe that it can compete with the best on this album despite its plus points.

Score: 7.75/10

Label: Saifam/Asia
Duration: 03:45

Oh dear...where has this album gone so badly wrong that it needs such a cheesy dance remake of a fairly sub-par Elvis track?  Seriously, this is painful.  Even reviewing it in the context of the Speed genre - which I should do really since it doesn't really belong on a Eurobeat album - it lacks the raw attack of the very best Speed compositions.  The awful way that the bass line melody is mirrored by the muted saw synths in the chorus gives the whole song a really horrible contrived feeling like it has been made for a Saturday night light entertainment show or a variety show on a cruise ship.  The vocals are just awful - the King himself will be turning in his grave hearing these.  There is no passion or conviction in the delivery - it's all just a really bad caricature of what Elvis did.  I thank the lord that this track is under 4 minutes, as I couldn't really take any more of it. Saifam need some major inspiration and fast, as if they are just going to fob us off with cheap (and poorly executed) cover versions that don't really belong for the whole decade, I'm going to get pretty irritated very quickly!

Score: 1/10

Label: Dima Music
Duration: 05:55

Destinee is one of the very best vocalists to appear on to the Eurobeat scene in a long time, and that's why I was so bitterly disappointed that she was given such a dull and banal debut song as "Wonderwoman Dream".  Thankfully, Dima have sprung in to action to right that wrong with her second track - and what we have is a true masterclass in how to create and perform a modern aishu track.  The softness of the guitar-led synth hook, the unique rise and fall of the vocal melodies and of course the ever reliable Dima production style all come together in an aural feast that is a joy to play.  The Far-Eastern style sounds are clearly influenced by Dima's studio out in Thailand, and the exotic feeling of the song is another thing that really raises it above the crowd for me.  The absolute icing on the cake for me comes in the very last measure of the chorus section - those two swift chord changes that lift the melody from the chorus to the synth hook with such a feeling of joy and progression is just awesome!  I couldn't play that section over and over and never tire of it.  I cannot fault a single thing about this song at all - from start to finish, it wraps me in a warm and silky blanket that pleases my emotions as well as my ears and I will now be anticipating every Destinee song from now on with baited breath!

Score: 10/10

Label: Dima Music
Duration: 04:53

Oh wow, Dima is completely on fire on this album!!  The vocals are all to familiar on this track, so it's up to the song itself to give us that unique spark that sets it apart.  From the very start, those deep growling synth rasps set the scene for a fairly adrenaline-fuelled ride, but surprisingly the main synth hook sounds pretty light.  Despite Dima's vocals having that same style as they always have, they somehow sound a little more youthful and have a bit more purpose in this track.  The vocal melodies are probably a big help in this - from the soaring bridge section with the "bang bang" hits to the up and down leaps in the verse, this is a very well-written track.  I adore the spacey style middle section as well - it sounds like a NASA broadcast to outer-space at one point - and when the chorus eventually comes back for one last reprise, I love the way the whole backing drops as Dima sings "be a survivor", like he's really nailing that message home.  The only down point for me was when the song ended, and that's not just because I loved it so much!  The ending just seems to happen - the beat stops; there is a bit of vocal reverb, but aside from that there is nothing to nicely tie up the song and give it a proper conclusion.  Perhaps stylistically that's what Dima intended as we will never know if he ever became a survivor or not (like those really annoying cliffhangers in TV shows!) but I'd personally have just loved for the song to have been given a proper explosive ending.  Still, I guess it leaves the door open for Don't Wanna Be A Survivor part 2...

Score: 9.99/10

Label: Dima Music
Duration: 04:26

Seriously, have I landed in an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club after all the cast and kids have been given way too many sweets?  This production just sounds way to sickly sweet, with far too much cheese even for me.  Again Saifam have gone down the road of trying to adapt one of its other thousands of sub-genres to fit in to the Super Eurobeat albums but with disastrous consequences.  The song itself is just ugly and really forgetful - like a Hawaiian Sunday School hymn that's been tarted up by the producers of so many cheesy faceless 90's Eurodance groups.  The vocals do nothing for me - they are there and that's about all that can be said.  I just can't describe strongly enough how much I hate this song - I will skip it within a second of my iPod selecting it in a random playlist and I wish it a quick and immediate journey into Eurobeat oblivion...

Score: 0.5/10

Label: Hi-NRG Attack
Duration: 05:00

This is clearly the slowest track on the album, and for me it actually sounds like it might be just a tad too slow.  There are many fans in the Eurobeat community at the moment who are disillusioned by this new direction taken by Hi-NRG Attack and a slow BPM track is instantly a big negative point before they've even listened to the melodies etc.  Anyway, the main meat of this track is another galloping bass anthem with heavy guitar power chords throughout.  There are a couple of quirks in the production that don't really work as well for me as other tracks - for example, the way the bass keeps dropping out every 3rd beat is a bit odd and leaves things feeling a little unfinished.  I'm also not crazy about the vocal tone used especially in the verses and bridge sections as they sound a bit too goofy for my liking.  Having said that, I did really enjoy the intro - there was a deep trance-inspired sound to those arps and especially when the beat kicked in with the higher-pitched accents, I could see a nightclub with loads of clubbers raising their hands and bouncing along to the beat.  But the fact remains that I don't feel that this track is as refined or well written as the others.  They just don't hook me in like other melodies do, and I don't feel like the overall production comes together to create a cohesive soundscape.  Still, it's catchy and has a good beat if nothing else.

Score: 8/10

Label: Sun Fire
Duration: 04:39

I don't mean to sound dismissive or overly negative here, but I'm still struggling to work out what exactly Futura does at Sun Fire that is so amazing?  I really enjoyed Dance In My Town, but let's face it that was more down to Pasquini's production skills and the fact that he was pretty much the driving force behind the song.  Any song that Futura has sung so far has seemed watery and weak to me, and the production side of things still sounds fairly amateur compared to the other established names.  Here, we are greeted with a fairly odd middle-Eastern style intro with random synth hits, and that's pretty much it until the main hook kicks in.  Again, everything is pretty soft, muted and twinkly and that just switches me off, especially when you don't have a really strong vocalist on the mike driving the song forward.  My first impression of this song was that it was a middle-of-the-road dance-pop B-side by the likes of Ann Lee, and I really haven't changed my opinion.  The chorus is vaguely catchy, but when even Futura's vocals are straining at singing such a simple melody, I call in to question how she can really continue to be the leading female at Sun Fire as she currently seems to be.  She has a certain degree of song-writing skill, but on the evidence of this weak offering I would rather see her leaving the production side of things up to Dave and maybe employing a bit more of Mickey B. to do vocals.

Score: 4/10

Label: Go-Go's Music
Duration: 05:32

This one really doesn't mess around much with fancy, complex intros - it's pretty much straight down to the business from the get-go.  More than any other song I've heard on Super Eurobeat, this one really proves the evolution of the genre from disco as it sounds like a modern day disco track!  From the vocals to the synths used, everything screams flares and platform shoes to me.  The subtle chord changes in the chorus also give me the disco vibe, and I love the more bass-heavy chorus sections that seem to pay homage to the Almighty dance tracks from the 1990's (they were a label who could do 90's disco like no other!)  There is very little of Domino in this track to be honest, but that's okay as Ken does a sterling job on his own.  His unique vocal tone sits perfectly with this more mellow style from Go-Go's, but I'm delighted to hear that they have also included a traditional style synth sound for the main hook as it brings the disco vibe right into the 21st Century.  Other subtle quirks in the production, such as the high string accents during the verses and the way the music in the 1st chorus completely drops out with just a piano arpeggio accompanying the vocal, really make this track come to life.  The tom hits and castanet clicks are things that weren't as immediate to me on the first listening either, but they are now coming to the forefront after a few listens to enrich the overall production.  A great new direction for Go-Go's, but I wouldn't want to see them abandon their speedier styles in favour of this permanently.

Score: 9.5/10

Label: SCP
Duration: 03:39

I was so happy to see this bonus remix including in this release as not only is it by far the best version of I Won't Fall Apart, but it also blows every other Rock Version to have featured on the past releases of Super Eurobeat completely out of the water.  The mix name is so accurate - this is pure Rock Power at its very best, but what I particularly love about it is the fact that it still uses that 4/4 kick drum during the chorus and the off-beat accents to give the impression of a rock dance beat behind all of the guitars and testosterone.  Jager's vocals sound right at home in this setting for me, and the energy is maintained right to the very end.  What a fantastic remix and a great way to bring that song back to life!

Score: 9.5/10








This is a very solid album with a number of standout performances that really get the 210's off to a great start!  Hi-NRG Attack is sticking to the new slower style, but while Cherry Lips pulls this off perfectly, I feel that the other two offerings don't quite reach the same dizzying heights.  SCP were strong, and a special mention has to go to Hotblade for providing the perfect blast of Eurobeat energy to kick off the new Super Eurobeat decade (what a turnaround from the fairly banal "Plastic"!)  Dima is the other star with both Destinee and Mr. Dima himself shining in true Eurobeat masterpieces - it's just a shame that Sun Fire couldn't quite manage to keep the standard as high for Lonely.  And as for Saifam, I'm just ignoring the fact that they were even on this CD - what a waste of 8 minutes of disc space!!

Total score: 8.5/10

Saturday, 26 February 2011

NEW RELEASE - Dima Eurobeat Vol. 2

DIMA EUROBEAT VOL. 2 - Extended Versions

Released 26th February 2011
Available on (soon on iTunes - excluding Japan - and JunoDownload)


01. DAVID DIMA / YOKO (Extended)
02. MAX ZERO / LOVED IN TOKYO (Extended)
07. STEPHY / SPEED DEMON (Original Version)

Review will follow soon...

Friday, 25 February 2011

SONG OF THE WEEK - Pamsy / So Fragile

SONG OF THE WEEK - Friday 25th February 2011

Label: SCP
Featured on: Super Eurobeat Vol. 162

My very first Song of the Week on here is a song that is very dear to my heart, and remains to this day my absolute favourite Eurobeat song ever.  From a time when the SCP label were truly finding their voice and style in the Eurobeat world comes an absolutely beautiful and haunting track with emotion-filled vocals by the beautiful Alessia de Boni (a.k.a. Pamsy).  From the opening chilling arps that ripple from my speakers, I am transported in to another world - where love is the only emotion that matters.  Pamsy's whispering and hurt-filled vocals echo throughout this beautiful track, delivering a lyric that is as powerful and relevant now as it was when I first heard it...

"Everyone, every day / Living just can break their hearts / So fragile"

The soaring production really gives the song's message an added impact, and I am totally lost in the emotion any time I play it.  This track was the one that made me such a massive fan of Pamsy's gorgeous vocal style - always filled with such sincerity and high emotion.  I only hope that SCP will create some new tracks with her in the future, as her style is very much missed in the current female Eurobeat world.

PREVIEW SAMPLES - Super Eurobeat Vol. 212

You can now listen to 30 second samples of all of the tracks from the upcoming release, Super Eurobeat Vol. 212.  Check out the links below:

7. DAVID & TOY / YOU & I
15. KING & QUEEN / YA YA YA (Slow Mix)

Monday, 21 February 2011

COMING SOON - Super Eurobeat Vol. 212

Release date: Wednesday 2nd March 2011

Tracklisting (credit to Danko on

06 DJ SPACE-C / DANGER ZONE (Speedo Mix) (Saifam/Asia)
07 DAVID & TOY / YOU & I (Dima Music)
10 MEGAN / TIME TO SAY BYE BYE (SinclaireStyle)
12 GO GO GIRLS / SEX SKILLER (Go-Go's Music) <<< surely Sex Killer would make more sense?
13 CLAIRE M. / MUSIC (Dima Music)
14 DIGITAL PLANET / A NEW DAY (A-Beat C / Sun Fire)
15 KING & QUEEN / YA YA YA (Slow Mix) (A-Beat C / Sun Fire)

Some great names all-round, and this should be a great release by the looks of things.  Samples will be posted when they are available, but Set Me Free by Ace can already be heard on International iTunes (excluding Japan) and the DJ Space-C track is available on JunoDownload.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

REVIEW - Burning Tonight / Krystal (single)

BURNING TONIGHT / Krystal (Single release)

Label: Dima Music
Release date: 28th January 2011
Available on: iTunes, Juno Download

Of all the samples that the Dima Music staff put on their website's catalogue, this track was the one unreleased track that reached out, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and spun me around until I was dizzy!  The song starts with a fairly melancholy piano melody that is soft yet still has a sense of purpose so you know that there are bigger things to come.  As the string section builds in the background, the beat drops and Krystal's youthful and bright vocals spring in to life.  The trademark Dima arps start to stutter as the drum loops build and bass kicks in, and after a fairly short crescendo to the climax, we are met by what I can only describe as one of the best Dima synth hooks that I have heard in a very, very long time.  The bright yet focused saw leads dance merrily on top of the classic kick drum and bass sounds that have made Dima's productions so influential.  The vocal melody has a classic Eurobeat structure - the verse is fairly restrained and low, while the bridge section acts as a gradual build-up to the climax of the chorus.  The chorus gives the impression of having key changes despite remaining consistant to the starting register, but this just adds to the dynamic and progressive feel of the melody as a whole.  I love also the epic feeling that is given to the synth hook after the second chorus (at around 02:40), as when the beat drops out we can hear a grand orchestral synth pad that reminds me a little of the classic 90's style pads that were used in "Everybody's Free" by Rozalla and "Rhythm Is A Dancer" by Snap.  I have no doubt that had this song been picked up by Avex and included on the Super Eurobeat series, it would have become one of the most celebrated songs of the "decade".  But in a way, I'm kind of glad that it was given it's own release, as it is able to shine as bright as it deserves to without any other distractions.  Without a doubt, this song will be riding high at the top of my playlists for a very long time - here's hoping we get more amazing Krystal/Aleky/Kate Rush tracks like this soon.

Score: 10/10

Saturday, 12 February 2011

REVIEW - Dima Eurobeat Vol. 1


Label: Dima Music
Release date: 10th February 2011
Available on: iTunes, Juno Download

This release marks the first in what I hope are many independent releases from one of the most active labels in the Eurobeat scene at the moment.  Featuring 3 unreleased extended tracks in the Eurobeat style and with a bonus unreleased hyper-techno track from the label, it really gives a taste of what the label is all about.

Grading scale:
1 (terrible) > > > > > > > > > > > > 10 (awesome)


This is a surprise return for a David Dima alias that has been dormant for a fairly long time, and the use of an older alias ties in nicely with the retro feel that this track has.  The 80's disco beat intro and cow bells take use back to the time of leg-warmers and big hair, and the bass riff makes me think of some of those classic 80's movie tracks like "Maniac" (from Flashdance).  The spacey synths that warp and glisten through the remainder of the intro create a magical soundscape that is entrancing.  As the lead synth hook kicks in, I am hit with a strong sense that this track - whether intentionally or not - has been influenced fairly strongly by SCP's disco-style tracks.  Jay Lehr wouldn't sound out of place singing this track, for example.  This is further re-enforced when the piano makes an appearance during the chorus - SCP love their pianos!  It's also important to note that while many of the David Dima-sung tracks nowadays have a fairly muffled vocal quality, this track seems to give them a lot more clarity making the legendary vocals seem much lighter and more youthful.  I love the little quirky fillers that are added along the way in this track - at 01:04, the robotic "Eurobeat now" adds to the spacey, sci-fi atmosphere, and at 02:04, the frantic synth stab pattern just adds another level of interest for the listener.  My one small criticism is that the bass riff starts to grate a little towards the end of the song - it's nothing that majorly impacts on my overall enjoyment of the song, but I found myself distracted more and more by it during the chorus.  There's very little to grumble about on the whole, and it's a nice thing to hear some Dima disco for a little change!

Score: 9.5/10

2. MAX ZERO / I WANT IT ALL (05:02)

Wow, how awesome it would've been to have heard a Dima cover of the guitar-heavy Queen track bursting from my speakers - that could've easily been "Save A Prayer part 2" for me.  But anyway, we have an original composition with one of the most respected and successful male vocalists in the Eurobeat at the helm - Tomas Marin, a.k.a. Mega NRG Man and now Max Zero!  This guy was given a tough debut slot with Dima on Super Eurobeat Vol. 197 with "Loved In Tokyo" - a song which sadly didn't get enough attention due to the decision to make that release a non-stop release (although you could later purchase the extended versions on iTunes Japan).  Thankfully, this second release from Tomas at the label is given the full chance to shine in all its glory from the outset.  This production is a far more classic Dima Eurobeat style - the deep kick drum, the rich stuttering synths during the main hook, and of course the wailing and growling guitars ever-present in the background.  Lyrically, this track doesn't always stick to old cliches of "fire, desire, higher" which is nice to hear, but the real star is the unique melodic construction that is employed during the chorus.  That subtly descending scale is unlike anything that I've heard in the Eurobeat world and it instantly makes this song memorable.   The classic vocals of Tomas feel far more at home in this track than they did in "Loved In Tokyo" - not as forced, but they still manage to convey a sense of power that commands the listener's attention.  The combination of the harsh and more muted synth that dance around each other during the hook is another thing that really draws me in to this track - it adds another dimension to the production.  In the end, I guess all I can say is that I'm glad this wasn't a cover of the Queen song - as Dima and Tomas have created an anthem of their own!

Score: 10/10


Now let's go back a little further in time to the mid 100's of the SEB series, a time when Dima was still pumping out the hits at Vibration.  This track sounds to be straight out of that era.  The heavy use of saw arps during the intro in particular gives this a more retro Eurodance feel, and the vocals are another thing that dates this further back (as the current crop of female Dima vocalists are far less hyped and - dare I say it - more natural sounding).  The explosion of colour and depth when the main hook kicks in on this track is something to behold - the lighter chime bell sounds are layered on rich golden saw sounds and backed up by even deeper orchestral sounds that all combine to give the melody a real presence and sense of purpose.  The trademark warping flourishes between phrases are ever present, which is nice to hear - that's something that ties all the different phases of Dima'sItalo pioneers - the progressive ascending chords (a really good example of this is "Boom Boom Dollars" by King Kong & D. Jungle Girls).  My current personal preferences for Eurobeat have gone beyond this fairly cut-and-paste construction, which is sad as I'm sure I would have given this top marks 3 or 4 years ago, but even now I can definitely appreciate the effort that has gone into the production and writing and it showcases yet another very prolific time in Dima's production career.

Score: 8.5/10

4. WATER QUEEN / I WANNA BE A STAR (Hyper Techno) (05:20)

To be honest, I haven't actually paid much attention to the Hyper Techno genre, and I only became completely aware of it a few years ago through other listeners of Eurobeat.  The distinctive "clicky" kick drum and deep, menacing bass gallops give the style a very industrial feel, and for some reason I always seem to have an image in my head of Hyper Techno being played at illegal raves in Japan.  Anyway, back on topic, this track has a fairly bright hook section (although the repetitiveness does start to get to me after a while) and I really like the rich drum loops that are used.  Vocals are never going to be the most important part of a track like this, but I have to note that the MC sounds very British, while the female vocals in the chorus are delivered almost entirely through the nose (or by someone with a clothes peg on her nose).  Quite odd.  The beat breaks just before the chorus almost make me think that I'm going to hear the chorus for "Napalm Days" by Naika - a Hyper Techno track from Akyr Music that is one of the very few that has managed to make it on to my regular iPod and winamp playlists due to its strong emphasis on melodies and its hark-back to classic DDR tracks like Dynamite Rave.  After looping this track 3 times over, I can safely say that I probably won't be listening to it all that frequently, but again I can appreciate the work and effort that has gone in to the production.  I guess it's just not my style, and for a release called Dima EUROBEAT, I guess it really just doesn't hit the sweet spot for me, even as a bonus track.

Score: 7/10


The 3 Eurobeat tracks on this release were very well selected to represent 3 very different styles and eras of Dima's productions - from the modern masculine "I Want It All" right back to the cutesy and tuneful "Time To Fly", we can definitely get a fairly accurate picture of what Dima Music is all about.  The bonus Hyper Techno track is a neat addition, but I think I'd maybe prefer the two genres to be kept on separate releases in the future.

Overall score: 8.5/10