When I sat down to listen through the album a couple of emotions were floating around inside my head. First and foremost, anxiousness, as I’ve been waiting to hear this album for the past three years. I also had some pent-up frustration, anger and sadness from real life stuff influencing my mood, but those became irrelevant very
I had no expectations. In 2017, or 2018, hell maybe even in 2019 I might still have had some expectations towards this album, but after this long wait, there was nothing left for me to expect.
But holy shit if WRTN didn’t fucking fail them either way. We Rule The Night, Ran-D’s debut solo album failed expectations I didn’t know I still had deep down in my subconscious, it thoroughly disappointed me, offering me maybe a few morsels of genuine surprise along the way to keep me from wanting to blow my brains out.
Hi, I’m the Album_Dude, I didn’t post a single fucking review these past 6 months and I’m about to let loose on this unholy abomination of an album, an album so infuriating and insulting that I almost decided to just nope out entirely. Sometimes not reviewing such a piece of shit is a statement in and of itself, but I couldn’t let up the opportunity to rip Ran-D a new asshole with this review, so I decided to do it anyways, probably against my better judgement.
So, I guess we shall begin now? I don’t want to waste too much of your time ranting about the album before I get into the categories. Value
This album is weird. WRTN is free for those that preordered it, Ran-D decided to refund everyone and still deliver the hardcopies because he’s such a goo- … hold on I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit. Okay facts first, opinion later. Fact
: The CD, the physical copy, is FREE if
you were stupid enough to preorder. If you weren’t, you lost out on the Deal of the Century™
and you will probably not be able to buy the CD in the future. It sure as hell disappeared from the Roughstate shop and hardstyle.com isn’t offering the CD either. Digitally it’s still available at the expected prices of €10 for MP3 quality and €16 for WAV, but at only 15 tracks + 1 interlude – 11 of which were already released – it is outright scandalous to ask even that much for it. Opinion
: I’m gonna go ahead and call it what it is. It’s a SCAM. Ran-D or his management probably also realized that when they announced the preorders for the CD because I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I scammed my loyal fanbase, the hard core, the ones that actually put their money where their mouth is, by selling them an overpriced album full of old material. Either that or it didn’t meet their projected sales-quota. Whichever way it happened, they backpedaled so hard which made me simultaneously lose and gain respect for them. Value Point: 0/1 Flow
What flow? The tracks on the album have absolutely ZERO connection to each other. All they are is a mere collection of singles with a marginal
increase in roughness towards the end but that’s something that is EXPECTED and not a bonus or something that should be remarkable. Flow Point: 0/1 Artwork
I am at a loss of words honestly at this one. Not literally, because I’ll still write a wall of text, but more metaphorically because I can’t fathom who thought this was a good idea? First of all, how in the blazes is Ran-D getting away with copying the bat logo of Batman? I know you can claim that it’s just a stylized generic bat logo but then the question poses itself, what the fuck does it have to do with Ran-D? Or his brand? Which leads to another question, does Ran-D even have a brand? Because aside from being Mr. Zombie/Hurricane, I can’t think of anything. He’s bald, which makes him so very iconic and standing out from the rest of the hardstyle scene… man I can’t do this. This artwork is garbage. Generic red-white-blue color palette? Both WarForce and Synergized used it better. Big-ass lights behind you to make you into a silhouette? “Where I Shine” by Myst did that artwork better too. Nothing on this artwork makes me go: Yep, that’s unique, fitting, well arranged. And despite my love for minimalistic designs (Statement of Intent, Minus Militia albums, Radical albums etc..) this one fails even that. Because for a minimalistic design to truly work it has to have at least some sort of symbolic value.
WRTN on the other hand… I mean, it’s high fidelity, everyone with a brain can see it, but it’s just a generic, lowest-common denominator of an artwork that evokes zero emotion, it represents nothing because there is nothing to represent from the music side, it has no connection to the album barring the interlude, which itself is so far removed from every other track on the album that I am questioning its place on the damn thing in the first place…
FUUUUUCK this is exhausting. I want to pull my hair out. It’s so fucking frustrating to want to at least try and find some redeeming qualities for this record, but so far, I can literally only say that it’s “high fidelity” but that’s like praising a photograph for the number of pixels it has. It’s not a quality it’s a baseline expectation!
And that’s all there is to the artwork. It’s high fidelity, it’s produced well, the photoshop/color correction is precise and pristine, but it lacks any sort of character. This is the same beef I had with Contagion’s artwork too. Artwork Point: 0/1 Sound
Practically everything that I said about artwork – at least in spirit – is applicable here. Sound is high-fidelity, it’s very
well mixed and mastered, but therein lies the catch. It’s too well
mixed and mastered. The sound design is too clinical, too precise, too… calculated, too artificial. It lacks any sense of soul, any sense of organic arrangement, any sense of it feeling natural to the ears. It’s loud, it’s brash yet polished beyond recognition. It’s precisely arranged, micromanaged, synthetic, formulaic, following a very rigid structure that returns in almost every single goddamn track and in the few it doesn’t it unsurprisingly works to its benefit because those are the tracks where I find myself actually jamming along. Chasing perfection seems to be a fetish of Ran-D because he seemingly tweaked every single one of these tracks for 3 months straight, considering it’s been 3 years in the making.
Let me end this by a quote that I absolutely love. It’s a quote that is being sampled in Geck-o’s masterpiece of a track “Character”. The quote is as follows: I remember meeting somebody from a German electronic band, who shall remain nameless, and he said, “I am after the perfect Sine-Wave!”. And the interesting thing is, that the least interesting sound in the universe is the perfect Sine-Wave. It’s the sound of nothing happening. It’s the sound of perfection. And it’s boring, you know? As David Byrne said in his song, “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens”. Distortion is character basically. In fact, everything we call “character” is the deviation from perfection. So, perfection to me is characterlessness.
This quote by the way single handedly characterizes this entire godforsaken album better than my rambling ass ever could, but I will still try. I’ll still give Ran-D half a point because from a purely technical perspective his Sound is good, in fact, perfect. But as I mentioned above, technical perfection is not what I’m after, especially not in hardstyle. Sound Point: 0,5/1 Tracks
The real clusterfuck begins here. Strap in, fit in, drip in, and win. Grab a popcorn and maybe a drink. Lord knows I need the latter now. Also, I’ll affix the original release yeacreation year for each and every track, because I’m fucking petty like that. WRTN Interlude (2020):
Should really be called an intro, because Interlude implies it’s supposed to be something that fits in between two more or less – but at least loosely – related things, tracks, chapters whatever you wanna call it. So not only is this track misnamed by virtue of it being the “opener”, even if it was
in the midst of it all, it still wouldn’t be a proper interlude because not a single track on the album has anything to do with the theme of “We Rule The Night” whatsoever. It has no place on the album, because this alone won’t make these tracks feel like they belong together.
In a vacuum this intro/interlude has some decent lyrics and some hype as fuck sound design… TOO BAD IT DOESN’T LEAD INTO ANYTHING. Wasted fucking potential. Shameful. The Power Of Now (2019):
The Power of Now is probably the least offensive track on the entire album. Perfect little uplifting milquetoast with an adequate mid-intro that gets me moving no matter what I want. It’s decent. Perfectly acceptable. Nothing to critique of really praise on it. It just is. Dreamers Of The Universe ft. Mark Vayne, Diesel (2020):
This track is much like The Power of Now, in that it’s perfectly acceptable as it is, it’s got a good vibe, nice uplifting melody (I’m unsure about it being sampled or not, you can never know with Ran-D) and okay drive. Notice how I haven’t mentioned kicks yet? They are so uninteresting that I don’t find them noteworthy. They are the same kicks Ran-D has been using and incrementally improving and slowly polishing since 2013. They have become synonymous with Ran-D and are about as much of an insult towards creativity as Brennan Heart’s kicks. But at least with Brennan you have him regularly steal from the IAH/WAH sound bank and using Code Black’s or Aftershock’s kicks, so there is some
variety whereas you hear Ran-D using a “new” or “different” kick once every 5-7 tracks. And those too only last for about 20-30 seconds maybe at best. Much like the outro on Dreamers of the Universe. The outro of this track actually
surprised me pleasantly and made me pump my fists because of how good it was. It is one of a handful of organic sounding moments on the album. It’s a damn shame I have to go through almost 4 minutes of – to me – boring music to finally get to the good stuff at the very end. Do these last 20 seconds make the previous mediocrity worth it? Hardly. Nirvana (2018):
Borefest that desperately tries to replicate some
of the success of Hurricane and Zombie but falls completely short. Nothing outstanding or exciting going on in here. Armageddon w/ ANDY SVGE (2019):
Now I understand why this was released on such an insignificant compilation album like Toxicator 2019. It’s filler shit. Lyrics are boring and generic, melody the same, kicks prove to be the same old same old again and ANDY SVGE brings nothing
to the table. Literally nothing. This might as well be a Ran-D solo track. Also, what the fuck is with the title? Armageddon? This track? What kind of Armageddon is so smoothly mixed and meticulously sounding that it feels like a gentle massage? I want filthy ass kicks, big monumental evil
screeches. Pussy shit. Disgusting. Zombie (2016):
The Big Z. This is a historic hardstyle track. It’s breaking records at a rapid pace, single-handedly gave the genre itself a huge boost in popularity and publicity, and it’s one of the single-most high effort cover songs that I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Despite it being beyond overplayed, raking in views and streams by the tens of millions throughout its now 4-year long lifespan, I still have to respect it. It’s one of the more organic feeling tracks too because it is really a cover from scratch. The kicks, despite being the same old same old, actually fit the atmosphere and complement it, rather than being an insignificant background piece like in most modern Ran-D tracks. All in all, Zombie is a legendary track, with a legacy that already outshines most of the pre 2010s classics. Too bad this amount of fame apparently got to Ran-D’s head and made him jump on this pop-hardstyle train. I respect the hustle, but I miss when his tracks had more soul. Hell Ain’t Ready (2020):
Big smoke, small fire. Imposing title, generic lyrics. Promising sound at the start, replaced by cookie cutter “epic” melody by the 50 second mark. No drive, no mid-intro, just a typical Ran-D track. No wonder he kept it unreleased so long, it’s not worthy of a single. Run From Reality w/ Endymion ft. LePrince (2019):
I get the message a bit better now from having to go through this atrocity. Sure as hell makes me want to run away too.
Run From Reality has every aspect that makes a track successful on paper. Two giants of the scene collaborating, freshly picked vocal talent, senseless glorification of party culture, a melody that closely resembles a different hit you “produced” the same year and you’re set. So, what went wrong? Almost every single fucking thing imaginable.
“Two giants of the scene collaborating” is nullified by the fact that Endymion is nearly completely unnoticeable on the track. I can feel and hear some morsels of influence here and there but it’s so overwhelmingly Ran-D that it might as well be just a solo song. Much like Armageddon.
“Freshly picked vocal talent” is nullified by the fact that the lyrics are some try hard FTS remake, that glorifies MDMA and running away from reality. I’m all for positive reinforcement of rave culture. But this is toxic. It promotes the idea of drugs being healthy for solving your problems. Now I’m no moral preacher and don’t get me wrong, if you do drugs, you do you. But to promote drug use and excessive partying as if it’s the fucking purpose of life or some kind of fix-it-all solution for life’s problems is just as toxic and cringe as FTS.
And the melody. The melody that makes it a hit is also its largest drawback because it’s Battleborn 1.5, which itself is sampling… no, worse RIPPING THE FUCK OFF a classic track called “Cambodia”.
It also doesn’t help that this track was, together with Battleborn, literally the only two tracks Ran-D released last year, all in an effort to concentrate voters in the Q-Dance top 100 poll. It worked in 2017, it worked in 2018 and it worked in 2019, so you can sure as hell expect Ran-D to do this again. Absolutely shameless behavior. Hurricane (2018):
When Hurricane won in 2018, I was hyped for a short second before my usual disdain for this track returned. Only reason I was hyped, was that I felt this track being Q and Ran-D’s payback for 2017, where Zombie was robbed of its rightful number 1 place. But that alone shouldn’t decide the result of a top 100 tracks of the year poll.
The track itself isn’t bad or anything, if anything I like it myself. I just absolutely fucking loathe
what it stands for and represents. It represents a sort of metagame for tracks in the scene to be successful. Step 1: take a famous and well-known melody. Step 2: create a track around it with varying levels of effort. Step 3: insert melody. Step 4: ???? Step 5: Profit massively.
I say varying levels of effort because at least Hurricane and Zombie were very well built to perfectly support their respective melodies, Hurricane featuring completely original vocals that transformed the song from its original vibe and spirit into something else. Free marketplace of ideas and whatnot. But the damage that this track represents isn’t apparent in itself. For that we have to go to the next two tracks. Not An Addict w/ Psyko Punkz ft. K’s Choice (2019):
I have no clue or understanding whatsoever, why you need to create a remake of a remake. Not An Addict by K’s Choice is a 20+ year old song. Psyko Punkz made a bootleg of it in 2010 that got eventually forgotten in time but was still widely popular at the time. And now Ran-D comes in and swoops up both Psyko Punkz and K’s Choice to make a 2020 refresher. The track itself sounds nice and I quite like to listen to it, but the concept, what it stands for is so low effort that it makes me fucking puke. Battleborn w/ Frequencerz, Adaro (2019):
After I’m done with this review, I will never ever ever
want to hear this insult of a track. Three. Not one. Not two. THREE. THREE FUCKING ARTISTS thought, “yep, this is enough like this” before they released this lowest-common denominator, ripped melody, garbage ass track that is nothing more than a glorified pop-style single. Three artists, technically four people, sat there in the studio, thinking to themselves, that this is okay. On what planet do these people think they are? In what reality, is this track justified to exist?
Apparently, ours. This is the damage that Zombie and Hurricane did. Expect more. Antidote w/ Endymion (Kronos Remix) (2020):
Antidote, the original, is a big part of my musical journey in hardstyle. It was among the first ones that helped me get into rawstyle, but also experimental sounds. It helped me accept that boundaries between genres should be flexible, albeit well defined. Kronos’ remix respects all this, but he sticks to what he knows. Which is making raw bangers. His remix is a perfect refresher with amazing anticlimaxes. I love it. Sicario (Gunz For Hire) (2020):
One of the very few actually brand-new releases on the album, Sicario is an uncompromising raw track by G4H, which I like, but it’s boring as shit. I don’t know if the melody is original or not, because Ran-D managed to blur the lines there so well that I can’t tell if I already heard it or not. I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s original, but it’s still boring. Absolutely nothing exciting goes on sonically. Demolition Time (2017):
Standing as an antithesis to basically every piece of criticism I could throw against Ran-D and his music, Demolition Time is actually an insanely good track, that surprisingly holds up well, despite being over 3 years old. It actually has unique kicks, that were made just for this track, the melody fits it really well, it’s hard, rough, has actual drive, is dirty and not overproduced. It also has well-fitting lyrics with an amazing punchline and delivers with its kicks on said punchline. It’s just a constant escalation of intensity and energy that is yet to be matched by any recent track of Ran-D’s. This is the track MGFY tries to be. You can’t beat the original tho. Its only drawback is that it’s from 2017 and was already released and otherwise has absolutely fuckall to do with any given track on here beyond superficial similarities. But this is a criticism that I can bring to any other given track here so it’s not worse nor better than any other in this aspect. Bolivia (G4H Blood Brothers Remix) (2019):
Another gem on here is the Blood Brothers remix of Bolivia, one of G4H’s very best. In fact this remix is markedly better than the original in every conceivable aspect, but it fails to deliver the same spirit. Which is why I love both. If I want shivers from the sound design and aggression, I listen to BB remix, if I want nostalgia and good old classic raw, I listen to the original. Textbook remix and actually interesting sound design. I just hate that this is a praise I can’t give to the majority of the tracks on the album. MGFY ft. Villain (2020):
Monday Go Fuck Yourself, MGFY for short is an interesting track. By virtue of it being an unholy amalgam of raw, schranz techno, frenchcore and industrial hardcore. Ran-D is a psychic and he knew people would shit on him for lack of experimentation with sound, so he just mashed it all
into one track. And credit, where credit is due. He has like… 6-7 different kicks on here. Nothing that makes up for the lack of variation on other tracks, but at least I don’t feel like I got completely
So, you might expect a catch here, and you’d be right. This track fucking sucks ahahahaha. It’s fucking atrocious. It’s an incoherent mess of kicks and tempos that follow each other without any connection. It’s fucking trash. It’s enjoyable, thoroughly so, but it’s still bad. Still better than Battleborn.
Conclusion: I liked maybe half of the tracks on here at best. Even some I like that I just can’t let count because my liking of them is absolutely nullified by my hatred for the trends they stand for and perpetuate. For that reason, sub-par points. Track Points: 2/5 Bonus Point Bonus Point? What Bonus Point? Bonus Point: 0/1 This was a scam.
Title. Ran-D’s album, We Rule The Night was a scam. It was a marketing ploy to promote his touring and it worked. He’s been stringing us along for basically 3 years and after all this time, gave us the equivalent of a pity handjob by releasing this insult of an album. I personally feel humiliated for having ever felt genuine excitement towards this scam. The tracks are on here for no rhyme or reason. Tracks as old as Zombie and Demolition Time made the cut, yet tracks from the same year, Drugs w/ Act of Rage and Suicidal Superstar w/Phuture Noize didn’t? And you can’t claim “but they were already released” either, because that didn’t stop the… hold up lemme count again… 11. 11
Already released tracks from a total of 15 to appear on the album. Even Cumikaze felt more soulful, well thought out and put together than this shameless piece of trash.
This feels like it was a waste of time from me. I hope you enjoyed. Overall Score: 2.5/10 Personal Recommendation:
Avoid like the plague
Not even gonna bother with stream/buy links. This album doesn’t deserve promotion. Collection Post Final Thoughts
I feel used. Fuck you Ran-D.