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Album review: Radical Redemption – The Chronicles of Chaos
Radical Redemption officially has a new album to his name – a new milestone in an exceptional time. The Minus is More DJ received a lot of praise all over the world in recent years: Radical stormed to the top of the hardstyle scene in no time, but he also had to deal with personal circumstances and some criticism from fans on social media. But “Don’t fuck with The Radical” seems to be more valid than ever, as the release of The Chronicles of Chaos album today proves that Joey is in great shape again.
In almost 9 years, Radical Redemption released as many albums (!): 6 solo albums, including Annihilate and The One Man Army, and 3 under the flag of Minus Militia. This not only resulted in a ton of music and performances worldwide, but it also earnt him his own events at the former Heineken Music Hall (AFAS Live) and the gigantic shows at The Radical Dome (Breepark). Groundbreaking milestones in his career, but also big steps for the entire scene.
“The Chronicles of Chaos is the best album I’ve ever made”
The other side of the coin is that it involves a lot of pressure. The brand new number 80 from the DJ Mag Top 100, for example, indicated that he is absolutely proud of all his productions, but that he has taken a critical look at his own work:
“To be honest, ‘Command & Conquer’ is not my favorite. Some tracks feel forced when I listen to them now.” Mr. Brutal decided to change course and return to his old sound. The real Radical sound from 2012 to 2015 (including The Spell of Sin) – and this time without pressure from an upcoming event. It lead to an album with 2 CDs: one with 16 tracks and one in which 19 songs have been mixed into 1 whole.
‘It illustrates our current situation right now’
After The Chronicles of Chaos album is introduced with the distinctive female voice, ‘Stronger & Better’ is the first record that defines the current form of Radical Redemption. This is the kind of song you want to hear at the start of a set, with thousands of party fans around you and the fireworks flying from the huge stage. Hands in the air and dance when that bombastic drop comes, like when this track was first played at Qlimax 2019. It illustrates the situation in which the events world is now, looking forward to the moment when it can all be done again. “I’m coming back, stronger and better than before.”
The combination of Crypsis and Radical Redemption is one that’s always a guaranteed success. It is not without reason that the gentlemen (apart from Minus Militia) have already made more than 10 collabs (!) with each other and The Cryp is the only other producer to be found on The Chronicles of Chaos: three times. ’10 Seconds’ is the first in this list and gives that euphoric, invincible feeling that we are used to from them, of course with enough balls to go out of your mind.
‘Story of Origin’ clearly goes back to (as the lyrics say) to The One Man Army sound: the sound of the drums that accompany you to that recognizable high screech. The album continues with ‘Reincarnation’, an atmospheric track with a clear vocal, which ends in a drop with a lot of energy. After hearing Radical’s resident vocalist Nolz twice (with ‘House Fire’ and ‘Remember The Name’) and the tribute to Hard Bass (‘The Last Bass’) in between, we arrive at what we think is the best record of the album.
“Dad, this one is for you”
2019 hasn’t been an easy year for the Radical Redemption family. Last summer, things did not go so well with Joey’s father: after being in the hospital for about 8 weeks, he was eventually diagnosed with cancer. Usually Radical comes across as an indestructible DJ, but for the down to earth guy from the east of The Netherlands and his family, this was logically a huge blow.
His father is not only his best friend, but also the one who is partly responsible for the annual opening shows at the Radical events. “This situation turned my life upside down”, Joey says later. “That’s why I was so proud of my dad when he was there all night during ‘Brotherhood of Brutality’.” Radical Senior did not stop fighting and fortunately his last chemo is now a long time ago. “He is doing well and we are proud of him as a family.” To express his feelings, Radical started working on a track in the studio. As a surprise for his father.
‘D.A.D.’ is a wonderful tribute. It is a record that looks back on the fearful period, in which you have to fight as a family for the life of the one you love. As vocalist ATILAX says in the song, music can be something for anyone who is in a similar period, just as festivals can also be for the daily grind: an outlet. “If you struggle and you can relate, play this tape and escape.”
The song takes you through the bottomland of uncertainty and sadness, but eventually turns into hope. In which the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen and mountains have been moved to find the solution. Together, you stand strong as a family. The ambiance and lead of the song translate this story very strongly and those who know the world of hardstyle know that it is much more than just “boom, boom, boom”. ‘D.A.D.’ gives an excellent example of this and is therefore one of the better tracks of the year in our opinion.
The second half of the mix CD is also rock solid. It is an alternation of uplifting songs such as ‘Trailblazer’ (again with Nolz) and the ‘Dominator Tribute’ (this one immediately makes you nostalgic for the beach of the world’s biggest hardcore festival in Eersel), but also one in which Radical Redemption shows the variation of his sound with ‘Rule Them All’ (a smasher that puts you in the fast lane) and ‘Street Code’ (the kicks fly around you in all shapes and sizes).
Remarkably, you hear the title track (which live recorded drums from the studio) towards the end of the album: ‘The Chronicles of Chaos’ with Nolz. A wonderful pounder, which can be heard so late for nothing, because it is quite sturdy. This also applies to the Redemption Remix of ‘Brutal 6.0’, which fans have been asking for so much since Qlimax last year. As we are used to from Radical, the album would not be complete without a hardcore track. With the story from the intro, ‘The Tree of Knowledge’ closes the album at a higher BPM. An end show-worthy record, where the last bit of energy is blown out.
Radical Redemption is back in full force
Radical Redemption has been at the top of the hardstyle scene for years. To produce so much music (9 albums in 9 years) in addition to flying a lot is of course a particularly difficult task. Which an old and new generation of fans cannot always agree with, even if there are sold out shows, bookings all over the world and many other impressive performances in return.
The Chronicles of Chaos shows that Farmer Joe has not only got back to his old form, but even improved it. A very strong album, production-wise again excellent, with a considerable variation and Radical Redemption manages to keep it close to himself. Emotional tracks are accompanied by massive bangers and with a hell of an idea behind the album. While the essence of Radical remains the same, as Nolz says well in the track ‘Trailblazer’: “Don’t follow the path, but blaze the trail.”
The new album The Chronicles of Chaos from Radical Redemption is available from today through the channels of Minus is More.
Radical Redemption – The Chronicles of Chaos tracklist
- Radical Redemption – Intro
- Radical Redemption – Stronger & Better
- Radical Redemption & Crypsis – 10 Seconds
- Radical Redemption – Story Of Origin
- Radical Redemption – Reincarnation
- Radical Redemption & Nolz – House Fire
- Radical Redemption – The Last Bass
- Radical Redemption & Nolz – Remember The Name
- Radical Redemption & ATILAX – D.A.D.
- Radical Redemption – Contaminated Children
- Radical Redemption & Crypsis – Kick That Kick
- Radical Redemption & Nolz – Trailblazer
- Radical Redemption – Rule Them All
- Radical Redemption & Crypsis – Dirty Politics
- Radical Redemption – Dominator Tribute
- Radical Redemption & Nolz – The Chronicles Of Chaos
- Radical Redemption – Brutal 6.0 (Redemption Remix)
- Radical Redemption – Street Code
- Radical Redemption – The Tree Of Knowledge