Album Reviews

King Cannibal – Let The Night Roar

(Ninja Tune) UK release date: 12 October 2009

With Let The Night Roar Dylan Richards’ alter-ego King Cannibal serves up a fleshy stew of dark, brooding dancehall-influenced tracks with wide commercial appeal. Richards’ experience as highly regarded remixer Zilla has put him in good stead for this album of original material, featuring a variety of guests from around the world. He’s created a vibrant, if moody slice of global electronica.

The album straddles the two worlds of drum and bass and dubstep, but other influences also bubble to the surface. The action opens with Arigami Style, a throbbing piece which wouldn’t feel out of place in a post-modern samurai revenge movie, together with the threatening menace of movie-sampled dialogue.

The tone of brooding violence is kept simmering away with Murder Us, on which Jahcoozi adds some arresting vocal imagery. The energy intensifies with album highlight Virgo, in which Face a Face joins in with a vibrant, in-your-face French ragga tirade.

Thereafter there is a brief refrain with So… Embrace The Minimum, which takes things down a peg or two with a purer dubsteb vibe, but still leaving space for the odd rumbling bass flourish. But then we’re suddenly launched into full-on ragga territory with Dirt, featuring Daddy Freddy, seizing the baton of brooding vocals and making some decidedly odd noises along the way. The rest of the album flows along at a cracking pace, mixing edgy styles to create a variety of moody sonic landscapes.

What works really well is the way in which the changes in pace and pitch flow together and stop the album from falling into the trap of repetition that can so easily befall much of this genre. The variety of directions that Richards explores has its own internal logic and the album never feels like someone over-experimenting and randomly firing off in all directions. Let The Night Roar is edgy, but not too outlandish as to be unpalatable. Such cross-over appeal makes this an accessible and inventive album which will satisfy the curious as well as the serious fan.

Roar might not be be right word the describe all this – the tense atmosphere throughout makes this more of a snarl than a primal scream. But it’s an album to either start or end a night. This particular visit to the court of the cannibal king shows a great deal of promise; it wouldn’t be surprising to find a long queue of artists wanting to climb into Richards’ cooking pot.

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King Cannibal – Let The Night Roar