Reggae in Aotearoa is at the strongest its been for years. This is proven and succinctly confirmed in this new, most conscious, release. As a mouthpiece for the quality of Reggae nationwide, the initial song’s (From Street to Sky) main hook proudly proclaims ‘look at me now’, rightfully acknowledging the success of their/our music in this time.

The musicianship is sublime. Extremely tight, well composed and with an audibly high level of production skill, the album is a signpost of the standard expected and delivered. And so consistent are the individual songs, it becomes tricky to pick out highlights.

The vibe is varied, from bouncy summery major keys, to solemn and serious devotion. Righteousness is prevalent, with Comes a Time reporting a vision, in the biblical sense, of a need for conservation, recycling and a concerted environmental effort. Meditative dubstyles are represented in tunes like Seven Bells and the title track.

In a review, nitpicking details always sounds unduly harsh, but we are in a nation of such well-crafted music at the moment, you notice tiny the details – and absence of them – that make a great album transcendental. For instance, the drum-line in Poor Man Saveth the City was less responsive to the lyrics than the version submitted to Conscious Roots 3. If every song were given that level of attention, it would be iconic.

Into the Dread is a solid, well-crafted showcase of Aotearoa’s talent. Heavily religious, conscious, irie and honest, it maintains a listenable and likeable flow. With not so many glorious peaks, but no dreary troughs either, it is a pillar rather than a Kauri of reggae. It holds up the art form admirably, but refrains from outshining other trees in the forest.

Humble in outlook and technique.

3 Stars.

Spin Zero