Dub abstractionist Kevin Martin aka The Bug completes the incendiary urban triptych he began way back in 2008 with London Zoo, and continued with 2014’s Angels & Devils. The timing of his coda - Fire - is a perfect balm for our sorry state of affairs. The cavernous, delay-drenched production of Martin’s decaying dub often sounds as though ricocheted off the grubby windows of empty skyscrapers and the crumbling walls of deserted streets, invoking a setting not unlike the locked-down cities of our own world.
Naturally, the turmoil of the outside world is mirrored internally, and Martin’s host of collaborators give voice to the album’s intoxicating narrative of destruction, death and dub. “It is the year 3099,” booms dancehall MC/political satirist Irah at the head of ‘Demon’, a track that boasts faster bpms than we expect to hear from The Bug, without an ounce of hellfire spared. The smokestack billows higher still with Moor Mother’s scorched verses all across ‘Vexed’, as long-time like-minded collaborator Flowdan exerts masterful lyrical pressure on the flurry-of-blunt-knives production of ‘Hammer’ and ‘Bomb’.
The Bug delivers another deft round of soundsystem-blowing ammunition. Fire brings to light exactly how epoch-defining Martin’s infernal craft truly is.