In the world of Hardstyle there exist many different sub-genres. The scene is currently flourishing in a blissful state of seemingly endless diversity and each producer worth their price of admission has a very distinct sound.
There is your standard Hardstyle that goes on the main stages, often referred to as ‘Mainstage Hardstyle’; ‘Euphoric’ which is the most melodic and “soft” part of Hardstyle, usually considered to be the main gateway subgenre aside from stuff like Trance, Tek and Jump. You’ve also got ‘Raw Hardstyle’ or simply ‘Raw’, the significantly more abrasive side of the scene, which itself spawned a subgenre of its own, ‘Ultra Raw’ or ‘XTRA Raw’, which describes Rawstyle that borders on Hardcore Techno. And this isn’t even counting the tons of foreign influences that are in the scene at the moment.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Before ‘The Great Split’ began in late 2011 as the earliest of raw labels and producers forced their way into the spotlight, the Hardstyle community and the Hardstyle sound was as good as in unison. Most big producers produced the same kind of music with the same leads and kicks as everyone else.
The scene was on the brink of becoming stale and one had to dig real deep to find any real diversity, in contrast to what we have readily available now. But let’s turn back the time even further, to 2009. An ambitious producer named Grzegorz Luzynski is freshly signed with underground Hardstyle label Minus Is More and wants to do an album. The label gives him free reign and supports the idea. The result is one of the most renowned and well regarded albums in the history of the scene.
So if you’re asking yourself why I’m giving you all this seemingly trivial information, it is there to put today’s album in context.
For you see, Crypsis’ 2009 masterpiece, Statement of Intent is by all intents and purposes a Raw Hardstyle album. But it hails from a time where Raw Hardstyle didn’t even exist yet. It is an album truly ahead of its time by an immense amount considering the age of the scene and it influenced many an artist over the years.
This album is the pinnacle of Hardstyle. Each track is amazing, unique, atmospheric, melodic and most importantly: hard. This genre is called Hardstyle afterall. This is reflected in the sound design of this record. It is quintessentially 2009-sounding Hardstyle but with an unprecedented rough edge that make it stick out from all the other music produced within the scene at that time.
It still shares all of the overall technical polish but much less of the overdone and overproduced sounds that the rest of the scene had. No such thing as an element sounding overly crisp, but it all comes out crisp as a package. And that’s what most important here. It is an exciting and exotic landscape in sound that grabs your attention and never lets go. It’s simple, to the point and no needless fluff. It means business. It’s there to screw up your legs from dancing so hard to the beat.
Listen to Crypsis – Statement of Intent on Spotify:
At only 13 tracks and a continuous mix, the album runs 71 minutes for the individual Studio Length tracks and a rough hour for the continuous mix. All in all you get well over 2 hours worth of content for your purchase.
As such, the price point of €15 + shipping is absolutely worth it for the physical copy as it is surprisingly still in stock on the official site, and every Hardstyle fan worth their wit considers it a must-buy album. Sadly the most convenient way of buying the album digitally via hardstyle.com is impossible, but it is available for purchase from iTunes or Beatport.
Is it a worthy purchase? Absolutely. You get first and foremost, what you pay for, as it is in no way close to being overpriced like most albums nowadays are but also you get some of the very best Hardstyle has to offer. If my review convinced you to listen to it and you like it, perchance even would love to support the artist by buying it, definitely go for the CD. It’s a collector’s item and its worth will just increase as time goes by.
The artwork is probably as simple as it gets in Hardstyle, yet in its simplicity lies an odd charm.
It is in no ways groundbreaking. It is in no way explicitly pleasant to look at, yet it is somehow oddly calming and charming. It is there, it tells you what it needs to, the label, the artist, the title, the logo and that’s it. Add some distortion/dirt/wear’n’tear effects to this bare bones black and white cover and you’re set.
This in turn also reflects on the album’s essence. No bullshit, straight business. 4 to the floor bangers galore made to be danced to, not to be entranced by the cover art in admiration while listening to it during a boring and slow day. It is meant to be there to tell you the essentials and not to distract you from the really important parts.
Speaking of said important parts, the tracks on this record are sublime. Let’s take a look at them!
The vibrating horn-esque screech/synth in “Tuatara” is Crypsis incarnate.
Everything that makes Crypsis who and what he is, is contained within the first 90 seconds of “Tuatara”. Relentless kick, absolutely amazing intro with an outlandish sound-design and then comes the break. A powerful and epic melody reaching into the skies and then one of the best climaxes ever created. This track is so 2009 that it couldn’t be any more if it tried. Absolutely glorious.
The heavy kicks, simple but engaging melody and the sampled vocals of Al Pacino make “Choices” (w/ Luna) a definite banger.
The stubby kick in the mid-intro of the track going over into a whimsical melody in the break and then exploding into a triumphant climax is what marks many-a-tracks from this album, however I think “Choices” is the most graceful in execution. Luna is not really present on the track aside from name, but that’s always been the case with him. Although I still don’t know why the track is called “Choices” instead of “Carry & Follow”, which is a much more iconic and poignant lyric from this track. Whatever the case may be, this track is a simple banger from a simpler time.
“The 6th Pathway” is often regarded to be Crypsis’ best solo production, and I am inclined to agree.
The track begins with an ominous monologue talking street wisdom before the intro of the track begins. Heavily techno-influenced buildup with a melody raising in volume by the second and some nice scenic sounds to make it all come out together as a complete package. The first break of “The 6th Pathway” after this intro is also one of the most majestic in the scene.
At 2 minutes and 23 seconds in we finally have our first beat drop, in the form of an amazingly simple, somewhat melodic climax. A beautiful stutter-effect has been applied to the melody and synths, which give it a much more dynamic feel. Another minute passes and we arrive at the absolute pinnacle of the track. I won’t spoil it, you have to listen to it yourself, but it is some of the best composition in Hardstyle.
“Dust In Your Eyes” (w/ Kold Konexion) is probably the most obvious ‘ahead of its time’ track on the album.
This track is mainly ahead of its time because of its tempo, rhythm and structural design. It sounds and feels modern to a modern listener. Barely a dull moment, barely a silent moment. If silence is used it is used for a purpose, not to fill out the empty space between drops. The bassline has immense drive in it, more so than its contemporaries, it is shorter but more to the point than its contemporaries too. “Dust In Your Eyes” is just this big package of awesome, a gift from the future used in a track to give us a blast from the past.
However modern it sounds and feels, it doesn’t feel completely out of its native era either, mainly because of the sounds and general sound design used. It does sound like 2009 while structurally being closer to something from 2014 or 2015. Featuring one of the best vocals and driving melodies ever created. Just like “The 6th Pathway”, it’s an absolute masterpiece.
“Get Hit” featuring Sasha F is one of the most renowned Rawstyle classics in the scene and for a good reason.
I am unable to pinpoint the reason for the success of “Get Hit”, or narrow it down to a single element of the track. The punchline of “Get hit with the muthafuckin’ real!” certainly plays a part, but just as much as that, the mid-intro that follows with its buzzing, almost didgeridoo-like sounding synth over a fat beat is equally a factor for its success. Then there is the melody, which is one of the most memorable, catchy, earworm-y melodies ever conceived in Hardstyle and it just sounds epic and energetic as a whole. It is one of the masterpieces of the scene and every fan knows it, even if they don’t give a shit about Crypsis, even if they don’t know who or what he is, if they’ve been in the scene for at least a good few years they’ll at least know this track.
At a whopping seven minutes and fifty seconds, “Oppose the Majors” is Crypsis’ longest solo track to date. But is it worth to listen to it all?
Absolutely. Despite how long it is, there never seems to be an empty moment. Its mid-intro is mind-bendingly bouncy and once it finishes it blends into one of the most groovy breaks in all of Hardstyle. Sampling the first verse and chorus of Nine Inch Nails’ “Meet Your Master” in it, the people get an adequate amount of time to rest and maybe groove to the track together. Clap along, sing along, you name it. Once this break is over, however,“Oppose the Majors” goes back into high octane mode and completely wipes the dancefloor with the unsuspecting. A flurry of melodies sweeps over a barrage of beats that will knock you down if you don’t look out for them. It’s a really fun track that I can’t recommend enough.
“Highest Pressure” feels like a filler track gone wrong in the right way.
This is a fantastic track. Not like any other track on this record is any less fantastic. There isn’t much to say about it. It feels like an afterthought of a track that outgrew itself and became much more than originally intended. The mid-intro isn’t anything special or noteworthy, but the melody definitely makes up for it. “Highest Pressure” is deceptively complex while staying simple enough to sing along or remember it. It makes the track much better than it has any right to be. It’s glorious. The Radical Redemption remix 7 years later is amazing as well.
“Chaser” is one of those tracks that usually get overlooked, but rewards you all the more if you listen to them.
With such a simple and rather unassuming name as “Chaser”, it’s no wonder that this track is oft forgotten within the scene. Yet, whenever someone drops it almost everyone can sing along to it or dance perfectly in tune with the stuttering kick and lead in the mid-intro. In fact this ‘stuttering’ of the kicks is one of the most interesting parts of it. It is interesting in that it wasn’t used in the scene as much back then. It was always a niche trend to begin with and it ceased to exist post 2010 for at least a good four years, before the rise of Rawstyle brought back this type of rhythmic diversity. Yet another example of the album being ahead of its time.
And this isn’t even mentioning the surprisingly uplifting melody, which seems to go hand in hand with these insanely heavy kicks.
“Sonic Sabotage” featuring Kold Konexion is one of, if not the quirkiest track in Hardstyle.
Kold Konexion being the earliest member of Minus is More next to founder Luna, is one of the most peculiar musical cases in Hardstyle. Slipping in and out of relevance seemingly on a whim, and usually delivering absolute bangers whenever he decides to show up. His collaborative effort with Crypsis, is naturally one of those. “Sonic Sabotage” is a track of utmost curiosity, and before we even delve further, I want to put up a little disclaimer. This track is in the top 3 of my all-time favorite collaborations. I am in every way possible biased towards it.
So what makes this track so special?
It’s a trance track. It’s a hard-trance track with an unusually aggressive bassline but it’s a trance track nonetheless. And It’s just gorgeous. It’s not sabotage… it’s sonic porn.
“Transmission” featuring hard dance pioneer Lady Dana is one of the more abrasive tunes on the album.
Sampling one of the more well known lyrics in the scene, “Do not attempt to adjust your dial, I’m transmittin’ live with the hard-hard style”, “Transmission” is a masterful show of controlled and graceful aggression within music. The mid-intro is stellar, the break is just as much. The melody is beautiful and complex and the climax is powerful. There is no need to lose many words about this track. It’s simple, it’s powerful, it’s amazing.
“Torture” with Luna, staying true to its lyrics, will give you a rush for minimum price.
But what a rush it is. Being one of the best tracks in the entire scene is amazing. Being one of the best and most widely known is even better. And being one of the best, most widely known and even best quotable tracks is a league entirely of their own. Tracks like “Shiverz” by D-Block & S-Te-Fan and High Voltage, “Psychedelic” by Headhunterz, the infamous “FTS” by Showtek and of course, “Magic” by B-Front and Frontliner all represent this. “Torture” is in my book at least, definitely one of these. It is simply amazing and it never fails on the dancefloor. No matter how exhausted people think they are, pop this bad boy in and everyone is rejuvenated. Absolute masterpiece.
“Jealusy” is by far and away the underdog track of the album.
If any track is destined to be forgotten, it’s this one, but it is absolutely solid despite all that. However it isn’t as simple as that. It is still a track well ahead of its time, as it has an anticlimax instead of a melodic climax. The standard of the scene at the time. The track consists of screeches, FX, kicks and vocals and that’s it. No real amount of melody is included and still it’s a banger. Guess Crypsis was on to something as half the scene is making mainly anticlimactic music nowadays.
“Before The Storm” featuring Chain Reaction is the cinematic epic to close off the album.
This track has it all that is needed for epicness. Ominous movie sample, literally from the movie “Omen”, gloomy and dark atmosphere, dark melody and an absolutely banging beat. It also oddly enough asks the listener whether they are ready or not right in the beginning of the track. And it is a good question. Because this barrage of sound erupts without warning and much foreplay. It is a sublime finale to one of if not the single best album of the Hardstyle scene.
Statement of Intent set a benchmark in Hardstyle album history that I personally am yet to see surpassed by anyone.
Even conceptual masterpieces by the likes of Black Mirror Society, Pursuit of Thunder, The One Man Army, All Around, E=nc2 or Audiology, just to name a handful, never really manage to reach the heights this album has despite coming close. Not to mention having flaws of their own to begin with while Statement of Intent is arguably immaculate. I don’t think I can overstate how much I love this album and why I think it won’t ever be surpassed. It’s just too good.