Nero - Welcome Reality (Deluxe) (Review & Download)

Nero - Welcome Reality
Electro/House/Dub Step

Nero's new album Welcome Reality debuts on Tuesday, August 15th to much fanfare. The duo has released plethora of tracks and samples but not yet a full length release. The LP contains 14 tracks, and the deluxe edition carries 20. Early returns for reviews appear less than favorable, commenting about Nero's predictable style and inability to radically innovate a genre that's easy to get lost in. The target goal for any band in electronic music is to rise above the mediocre middle and deliver the one-two punch. I think with Nero's tracks like "Innocence," "Promises," and "Me & You" we have seen that. But apparently there is a separation from their singles and their album. I spent some time listening to the 20 track deluxe edition and came up with a result a little more pleasant and supportive than my counterparts.

Nero uses a distinctive orchestrated feel on many of their tracks, so it's no surprise that the opener "2808" is a full orchestral introduction before kicking into the remainder. "Doomsday" is a hot track that leans dub. "My Eyes" is a little slower, 80's sounding track that kills the mood developed in the previous track. I appreciate it more when an album is laid out with tempo in mind. "Guilt" was one of the singles Nero released and has already proven successful. "Fugue State" is another silent killer combining elements of French house with dirty electro. "Me & You" of course, another proven single that sounds like a theme song for a movie (in the 80's). It butts next to "Innocence" a great electro track that takes a little while to take off. "In the Way" is a downtempo track that feels out of place on a Nero album, again, killing the mood. "Scorpions" is a mixture of progressive house and slight dub; produced with mixed results. "Crush on You" is an album highlight, with a crazy dub line mixed with a riveting vocal performance.

"Must be the Feeling" is the half-way point (for the deluxe edition). It sounds like a Breakbot track with the 80's funk tones mixed with swinging electro elements. It's catchy but significantly less awesome-ized as most of the tracks on this album. "Reaching Out" uses vocals from the Hall and Oates song "Out of Touch," in fact the chorus line and bridges is original vocals sung by Daryl Hall. It's a strange track, despite my fandom for the 80's duo. "Promises" follows that, and is, frankly. one of the top five tracks I've heard this year. This is the song that sold Nero to me. A beautiful blend of progressive electro and female vocals (also, a cool music video). The standard album's closing track "Departure" is a heartfelt farewell (or the credits soundtrack from a movie). Then begins the extra deluxe tracks.

"Angst" is a cool track that splices sinister violins with dub lines. "Welcome Reality VIP" is a track that definitely should have been included in the original album. The spooky start, the dub roll out, the crazy stuttering synth lines, and the weird monster-ish voice in the background. Why this is left off the standard album is beyond me. "Choices" is a cool DNB track. "New Life" was released as a single last month, and I did a blurb on it here. "Symphony 2808" is a 17 minute (!) track that is basically, well, a symphony. I skipped this, not being in the mood for the orchestra just yet. The deluxe edition concludes with "This Way." The female vocals spice up this slow dub track that otherwise seems forgettable. It appears after a full listen through that if you've heard and enjoyed the singles, that you've pretty much snagged the band's highlights.

At times it feels like Nero simply put together the last 20 songs they've produced and slapped it on a single LP. The result is a grab bag of Nero tunes with a wide array of styles and tempos varying from track to track. Rather than a canon of sounds, it seems more like an oft-kilter greatest hits compilation. Now don't get me wrong: Nero is a talented duo with a lot to bring to the table. Thankfully, their singles paved a good foundation allowing this release to have its share of faults. I will continue to support the band, hoping they settle on a thematic sound which would do us, the audience, some good. B-

Check out some tracks from the album:

Nero - Crush On You (Knife Party Remix)

Nero - New Life


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