Cloaks, Versus Grain (3by3)

The grit and the dirt

Versus Grain, the debut LP from UK producers Cloaks, is an angry animal—it's an explosive, industrial strain of dubstep that sits on the fringe of the genre's constantly morphing surface, as well as glitchy electronica. This short effort feels very familiar, however. The Cloaks team pursues the grittiest atmosphere imaginable, sounding less like developments in "wonky" and Berlin-techno-infused dubstep than they do an ill-tempered cousin of Distance's My Demons or the 2005-era DMZ roster.

"Against," like most of the tracks on Versus Grain, gathers slow ground during the first minute of its machine screeches and deep bottom end before it suddenly grows louder and bigger, with distorted snares and growling synths. "Sixmenace Two" is even less of an early-morning soundtrack, its gnarled bass and web of laser shots bearing down on speaker cones with all the weight of an army tank. Those who prefer crunch, noisy metal influences and a propensity to celebrate earlier dubstep milestones can count on Cloaks to deliver the goods. Versus Grain is a husky monument of the (recent) early days, and you'll need to look elsewhere if subtlety and slimness best identify your fancy. [3 out of 5 stars]