When the Kryptic Minds duo made the public move from drum’n’bass to dubstep in 2009 they were posited as the latest torch bearers of a dark and cavernous sound that had first been pioneered by the likes of Loefah – who logically put out their first dubstep album proper on his then-newly-set-up Swamp 81 label. While Loefah has seemingly since moved on from this particular dubstep niche, Youngsta can still be found catering to the dungeon lovers on dance floors worldwide and Kryptic Minds’ latest 12” for Tectonic supplies yet more of the same.
“Aksum” and “When Two Paths Cross” both rely on a fairly relentless drum pattern, with powerful, bass-heavy kicks, to drive the tracks forward, providing an interesting twist to the half-step template that normally dominates the dungeon side of things in dubstep. Outside of this though, the music on offer here is pretty much par for the course – the sounds and atmospheres are dark and claustrophobic and the bassweight is turned up to 11. “ Aksum” indulges in some fairly standard d’n’b tropes with its creeping synths (unsurprisingly considering the duo’s background), and their sparse use makes them all the more enjoyable, giving the A-side the edge. “ When Two Paths Cross” is a lot more straightforward, so to speak, living up to the expectations you might have from the duo without seeking to go any further.
In a way this is dubstep by numbers, fitting easily within the duo’s body of work, reputation and admitted interest in the darker, dungeon side of things. However there’s a lot worse out there, and considering their pedigree, this is about as good as it comes within that fairly limited niche. If you’re expecting to be bowled over you may want to look somewhere else, but if you’re looking for something that does the trick, then you’ve found it.