My first encounter with Dreadzone was hearing 'The good, the bad and the dread' over a large PA system as a student! Awesome!! I managed to track it down to the 360 degrees album, also got Performance and have followed them ever since. I loved Second Light and all it's singles, Biological Radio seemed to me to be treading water after this, but was still a great album, then goodbye Virgin and nothing for a few years.
When Sound was released, it was harder and a bit less commercial, but a very strong record and the musicianship and production was top notch. This was also displayed on the BBC Sessions CD, containing live versions of the classics, plus a handful of rare, unreleased tracks. Both these were essential.
Now then, sorry I'm waffling, onto Once Upon A Time...
The fact that this is very hard to find in any mainstream record shop shows the decline in their commercial appeal, but I was expecting great things nonetheless. However, my over-riding feeling of this album is mild disappointment. Roughly half the songs sound live Sound (spot the pun), some of the others have a more contemporary rap/r&b feel and one even sounds mildly Jamaican dancehall!
This is the problem with this CD for me. Are Dreadzone trying to sound more 'urban' (how I hate that word), or are they the Dreadzone we know and love? The latter-sounding tracks are awesome as ever: great basslines, production and clever use of ambient melodies/samples. These make this CD a worthwhile purchase, but it's their least satisfying and patchy album to date. Sorry!!