Onyx – Groove On (BNE)

Posted in Reviews 2007 by - June 25, 2007


This is the first I’ve heard from Onyx since 2003’s Direct Out, which was released on what was then his own label, Bionics. Groove on, as an artist album, is pretty strong. He has a good sensibility of what works on a dancefloor and for the most part, he does all this without going too over the top.


Beams Of Light is fluid, slightly-sweet stuff that’s nicely engineered to get a dancefloor on their toes. Cinnamon Roll has a neat, laid-back sound where the music does a lot of the talking – in a climate where everyone seems to want to push all the dials up to eleven, something a bit more restrained goes a long way.


Manpower is an obvious standout. A satisfying low-set midline drives it along, and somehow it all manages to not sound like the familiar, trance-by-numbers that we may have been expecting. Time Rulers, a track originally by Space Cat & Onyx, gets a neat remix: swirly, growly snaps give much-needed squelch to what otherwise sounds fairly Euro and trance-lite.


Atlantis is probably the most cohesive track here, and displays what Onyx is more or less about. It’s tight, it’s rhythmic, it’s fluid, and it’s floaty. His riffs are big, his beats are deep – I can see a lot of people getting very into this album. For a more lo-fi, casual example of his sound, check Groove On.


However, Onyx has a habit of straying into derivative sounds and patterns. Step By Step is a garish Infected Mushroom ripoff, complete with dodgy out-of-tune vocals sung through cheap effects, and the cod-nastiness of Subliminal is unlikely to fool anyone into thinking that Onyx is Iron Madness. Meanwhile, the first third of closing track Waterfield is utterly compelling, real proper-trance stuff, before he adds layers and layers and layers of sound, and it sounds too much like everything else.


It’s all very inoffensive, and I guess that’s something we should really be thankful for in the current climate. Onyx knows what works, and he has his own way of doing things. I just can’t help but wish he would stick with that, and not feel the need to add all these big Stadium-trance specialmoves.


This post was written by psyreviews