When grime, the result of a fearful dust-up between UK garage and jungle, hit the nation's clubs like a salvo of cruise missiles fitted with angst-enhanced percussion warheads, it was as refreshingly destructive to the dance music establishment as punk had been to the tiresome, prog-infested rock scene boring everyone senseless in the mid to late 1970s. Its early figureheads, Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Lethal Bizzle, et al, certainly caused a splash until their teeth were systematically extracted by major label A&R scum with fistfuls of cash, but the genuinely grime savvy know its true godfather is London producer and former member of the N.A.S.T.Y. and Aftershock crews, Terror Danjah. His refusal to accept the corporate dollar or compromise his unique tough but complex and artistic sound together with his recognition of grime's immense potential singled him out as a true pioneer very early in his career but MTV's conning of the public that the poppy slop produced by preening cretins like Tinchy Stryder were heroes serving up the best the genre had to offer marginalised the likes of Terror. As we know though, the margins are the sparsely poulated territory of the truly talented; the innovators and visionaries determined to create genuinely new music a million miles from the Mercury Prize and MasterCard sponsored, utterly horrific pap spewed out by Radio 1 and an ever-increasing plethora of TV music channels. By the mid-noughties, Terror Danjah was producing an extraordinary form of grime imbued with the artistry and lightness of touch normally associated with classical music but his apotheosis came in 2012 with the release of his unimpeachable masterpiece "Dark Crawler", to these ears at least, the greatest grime full-length ever made and a permanent entry in my top 10 albums of all time. Following a period during which, perhaps for battery charging reasons, he kept a relatively low profile I was ecstatic, frankly to a ridiculous degree, when I heard "The Planets" was on the way and my shagpile was soaked from the salivation that preceded my first listen. For some reason I was expecting fire and brimstone but the great man sounds a touch subdued here as though he wants to show that even a low key Terror Danjah trumps the most manic of the opposition and his deftness at the mixing desk is way beyond the capabilities of all but a handful of other producers. The signature sinister cackle of his infamous hobgoblin companion is absent from the first few tracks but when it eventually does put in an appearance, if you're anything like me, the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up like ramrods. Being in the presence of a grime producer so affecting, despite the fact he's not taking a sledgehammer to your cranium, is proof he's a deity of the scene. My guess is that "The Planets" is a transitional album of sorts, perhaps the prelude to a major change in direction. Whether that's true or not, I'll await his next transmission with bated breath. Buy on sight artists are seriously uncommon but those who have retained that status for the whole of their decade plus-long career are as rare as rocking horse shit. Terror Danjah is of that nonpareil stature. All hail the God of grime.
Favorite track: Planet X - Terror Danah feat Trends.