Published: February 5, 2013
For the past few years, this monster duo of Toronto-natives DC and Hooks have been haunting the EDM world with their shameless breed of dubstep on their own headlining tours, as well as the festival circuit. Zeds Dead continues to deliver massive, commanding waves of bass while maintaining a dynamic lyricism that is so lacking in this genre.
With festivals slowly beginning to unveil their coveted lineups, this new release couldn't be more perfectly timed. Hot Sauce reminds us why we love these guys, but also shows fans a new side of Zeds Dead that I didn't know existed. Allow me to preface this review by saying that I am one of Zeds Dead's biggest fans—they are one of my absolute favorite flavors of dubstep. I have to admit—my first listen to this EP left me a bit deflated. But after my second and third try, my feelings changed from "???" to "!!!"
Kicking this EP is "Demons", a lazy groove with a decidedly sci-fi feel. The boys display some of that screwy bass sound we've heard from mega-producers like Pendulum. Juxtaposed with a subdued, tonal melody, this track is a smart-ass, slowed-down funk that is sure to induce a riot when performed live.
The boys step out of their niche with the steamy, wispy "Mr. Sub"—a delicate, snare beat accented by steamy, wisps of sound. While I applaud Zeds Dead for showing more restraint than ever, this track feels like it's constantly building to a pay-off that we never receive. It feels more like an interlude when compared to the rest of the EP.
With similar style and finesse, "Playa" also highlights the new, unknown side of Zeds Dead's sound, which doesn't focus entirely on punch-you-in-you-gut style bass. This track features what I like to call the "anti-drop." It begins with the typical high-energy build, but instead of a deeply layered low-frequency drop we get a simplified, minimalistic high-frequency breakdown. Funky.
"Rave" is a driving, dubby tune that has a playful drum & bass feel. The best elements of this track are the screamy, sireny moments. With this track they continue to channel a more mechanical-sounding Pendulum.
The boys round out this controversial EP by showing us some of their true colors. With their unabashed bass melody wailing in full form combined with cheeky vocal samples, this is the Zeds Dead that we know and love. This track is choppy and aggressive—it seems to be challenging any listener who may think that these bad boys from Toronto had lost their edge.
Woefully missing is hip-hop spitfire Omar Lynx who is often featured on Zeds Dead's tracks. I think some of Lynx's pointed, eloquent rhymes could have added further depth and dimension to this release. While some die-hard bass freaks may be bored with this EP, I praise these boys for pushing their sound to evolve. Too many artists get too comfortable (or lazy) to push themselves and their production, so I truly appreciate this effort. This EP is a step in a new and exciting direction for Zeds Dead.