>> Nero: Welcome Reality (2011)

Artist: Nero

Album: Welcome Reality

Members: Daniel Stephens & Joe Ray

Genre: DJ/Dance, Other, Pop

Label: Cherrytree / Interscope

Tracks: 14

Type: LP

Release Date: December 13, 2011

Discs: 1

Rating: 4.50 (out of 4.00)

Grade: A+

Official Site


Alana Watson provides vocals on many of the duo's songs, though she is not officially a band member.

Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray, aka Nero, release their debut album Welcome Reality, a mish mash of dubstep, funk, retro electronic, and house. Alana Watson, long time collaborator, returns to provide vocals for the album where applicable. The album runs a little over an hour long consisting of 14 tracks. It has been suggested that Welcome Reality is a concept album, but like Jazz, electronic music is in he eye, or rather, ear of the beholder.

The first track off the album, 2808, is simple introduction. A travel through light and sound so to speak, that leads into the explosive Bloody Beetroots like barrage of sound, Doomsday. You’ve got your usual dubstep flavor with electric guitar crunching in-between, and dialogue samples running occasionally. Fortunately Nero creates a dubstep track that avoids the usual bombastic explosion of just bass with bleeps and beeps that you’d find in the breakdowns in similar acts. There is a blueprint to the feel of this one, even a quiet kind of serenity in its break that suggests character and puts the blearing track into somewhat of an interesting perspective. Again, depending on what you hear when you listen to the track.

Track three, My Eyes, introduces the listener to their first taste of Alana Watson’s broody sultry voice, an excellent addition to the albums overall sound, taking away the thought that your simply listening to a bunch of machines being manipulated in some studio wherever. The track has a real late era electronic sound you’d expect to find from bands like Depeche Mode or Hednoize.

Guilt is the next track and features the same dynamic as My Eyes, Watson providing vocals, Nero providing a bit harsher electronic sound, almost industrial in its aggressiveness if it weren’t for its soft breaks in-between furious sounding bass manipulation and complex drum patterns that bleed into the following track Fugue State. This transition gives the whole “Concept Album” statement credibility moving from a track like Guilt which is heavy in vocal narration to a straight instrumental track that provides an emotional line that’s easy to piece with the last track and run with.

As the album moves along there is that familiarity with the bands overall sound but no two tracks are the same. Nero obviously has a deep rooted love for electronic music of all sorts and it feels like an homage of sorts in each and every track, but each and every track has its own individual strength as well. I can’t help but feel like this album is the Darkside of the Moon for electronic music, it’s that good. From its high energy dance grooves to its solemn low tempo tracks with Watson providing such a heightening element to the feel of the albums direction and emotion. Where we could have just found ourselves with an album of tracks that all favor the blaring wha wha of dubstep manipulation and chaotic machines whirs and whistles, the album truly is alive with a human touch that helps it transcend a simple dance album. I highly suggest.

*I also suggest watching the music video's on their Youtube page to dive deeper into the rabbit hole.





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