If ever there was a dub album produced that offered a radical new vision to a dying genre, without a shadow of a doubt, this was it. Recorded over 25 years ago, A New Chapter in Dub more than stands the tests of time; sublime production and a remarkable collage of sounds highlight the true dexterity of Aswad's song-writing talents and arrangements.
In Dub Fire, A New Chapter kicks of with an imperious statement of intent, opening with a short snatch of electronic sounds, followed by an unforgetable horn riff and an instantly memorable and distinctive bass-line. The album then embarks on a remarkably evocative and varied selection of songs and soundscapes, each composition characterised by astonishing snatches of echo unexpectedly jumping forth. Even where A New Chapter occasionally leans towards the soul style that characterized Aswad's later releases, the hard-edged politicized lyrics and dramatic production twists continually remind you that your ears are immersed in the midst of a surreal and exotic masterpiece. Following the mesmeric and exotic eeriness of Shining Dub, the album culminates in two breathtaking pieces in Natural Aggression and Ghetto in the Sky; characterized by spacey driving percussion lines, majestic horn-riffs and conscious lyrics, you are left in no doubt that Aswad have served their time as true ambassadors of reggae's frontline.
Whilst many purists will dismiss Aswad for their chart-topping efforts merely a couple of years later, this should simply stand as a further testament to their inventiveness and genius; make no mistake, this album places Aswad places in the pantheon of true modern musical visionaries. That this album probably didn't get the commercial recognition that it merited really is the musical world's loss. In many respects, the rest of the world is still catching up! Respect.