As we roll around to the final days of 2015, it’s time to look back on the past twelve months and celebrate all of the amazing moments we’ve experienced. Music-wise, 2015 has been a prosperous year for hardstyle filled with releases, new names and even the revival of old aliases! Looking back on the year that has been, the majority of you will remember the big hits of the year and the popular tracks, but what about those amazing productions that didn’t quite grasp the ‘hit’ status?
Instead of celebrating the commerical tracks or most popular hits all the time, why don’t we step back and admire the artists who are being bold, experimenting with their production skills or just generally giving it their all? In sight of this, we thought that it was time to show those underrated tracks and artists some recognition as we collated a list of tracks that we feel should’ve become more popular.
A-Lusion – I Need You
A-Lusion has released some pretty solid tracks over the years, however they always seem to fall a little underneath the radar. Today we’re letting his 2015 release “I Need You” shine under the spotlight because it deserves to! A-Lusion always manages to keep it real and it’s time that the public showed him some appreciation!
Activator – Get Dum
Speaking about underrated, Activator is an all-round name who doesn’t get the attention that he deserves! He’s freshly released his album “Veteran Of Style” that consists of four (yes, four) different sub-albums that are split into early, euphoric, raw and nu-style. I don’t think that the public even realises how much amazing music is on these albums which is why I’ve included two tracks from the ‘Nu-style’ segment.
Often when producers attempt to make older sounding hardstyle in a modern time it ends up sounding way too forced and generally shit; however the vast majority of tracks that Activator put out on the album are top-notch and seriously worth listening to! For those who haven’t been bothered to listen to Activator’s albums yet, I highly suggest that you take a few hours out of your time and really jump into them. You’ll be surprised to know that this Italian legend has still got it!
Activator – Rocking By Myself
Adaro – Raggamuffin
Adaro’s made some great tunes over the past few years, however my favourite by a mile was “Raggamuffin.” There’s just something about the way that this track flows that captured me; maybe it’s the way he’s cleverly blended those older influences in with the heavy kicks or maybe it’s that cool little vocal. I don’t know, but I do know that it didn’t get nearly enough recognition.
Adrenalize feat. Jannika – Find You
It’s been a pretty quiet year for Danish prodigy Adrenalize, who has only had three releases in 2015. Out of the three, “Find You” featuring the beautiful vocals by Jannika was by far my favourite; it’s kind of cheesy, but in a good way. As the vocals are the most prominent part of the track, it’s refreshing to hear that they are original and not taken from some boring EDM track. We really hope to hear more from Adrenalize in 2016!
Aeros – Move
I know that this is kind of shameful, but I only just got around to listening to Aeros a few weeks ago and fuck, I wish that I’d discovered him earlier! This guy is severely underrated; maybe it’s because he looks at hardstyle in a different light compared to other artists and the public isn’t used to it, or maybe others are yet to discover how great his works are.
Regardless, I’ve included two of his tracks “Move” and “Subculture” mainly because they are so refreshing compared to all of the black and white stuff that’s released nowadays. The creativity in these two tracks shine through so brightly and if I had one wish, it would be that other artists start to be a little more daring with their productions. Big ups to Aeros, we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on you and for our readers who haven’t yet done so, we suggest you jump onto the “Data Fragments” album.
Aeros – Subculture
Alphaverb & Intractable One – Turbulence
Another AMAZING, yet underrated track coming from AVIO Records. Seriously, the stuff that comes from that label is gold; it’s innovative and follows a completely different structure than the ‘typical’ track.
B-Freqz – Divine
Together and apart, B-Front and Frequencerz have had such a great year filled with incredible, high-quality releases. You’d think that such popular artists would get a huge response on every track that they release, but that’s not necessarily the case. “Divine” is the perfect example of a track that fell a little underneath the radar, probably because it’s a highly atmospheric piece that’s not exactly focussed around demolishing kicks and a party-vibe. Nevertheless, it’s such a solid track and it gives me shivers every time!
Bass Modulators – Oxygen
It took me a few listens to get used to “Oxygen,” but once it finally grew on me it seemed to be stuck in my head, for fucking weeks on end! Bass Modulators have really broken through this year and I can’t wait to see what other tricks the guys have up their sleeves in 2016.
Blackburn – Ancient Egypt
Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to discover any more great music, I came across “Ancient Egypt” by AVIO artist Blackburn, who is yet another severely underrated name. This track is neither raw or euphoric, it’s just powerful, hard-hitting hardstyle. Unlike many other artists who make that little ‘trappy’ drop in the middle of their tracks, Blackburn actually makes it work as he follows it by a heavy and impactful drop and not just some half-arsed EDM-like drop. If more promoters and fans supported guys like Blackburn then the scene would change and more ‘creative’ music will get its chance to shine.
Clockartz – 4 Da Floor
I began following this duo’s music somewhere in 2015 and have noticed that these guys have turned a whole new leaf in raw hardstyle. Their music is heavy and hard-hitting, but the musical aspects aren’t drowned out by overly-distorted kicks and screeches that better resemble a dying bird. Clockartz are generally an underrated name who deserve a lot more recognition which is why I’ve included two of their tracks, “4 Da Floor” and wacky crossover “INkA” with hardcore duo Tears Of Fury. I’m hoping that these guys keep delivering the goods in 2016!
Clockartz & Tears Of Fury – INkA
Dailucia – Rawphoria
When I first heard this track I couldn’t pinpoint where the hell it came from, but I knew that it was damn catchy and that I loved it! However, amongst all of the other ‘raw’ releases, “Rawphoria” didn’t exactly get its time to shine.
Da Tweekaz – Twerkout Revolution
Duckie-loving duo Da Tweekaz are another name who didn’t exactly release a whole lot of music, probably because they’re gearing up for their huge #Tweekay16 project! Amongst the few releases this year, my favourite was “Twerkout Revolution,” for me, it’s so damn catchy and it works great on the dancefloor! Unforunately, I have a feeling that the public didn’t exactly pick it up as well as “Wodka.”
Digital Mindz – Resonant Part 2
Generally speaking, “Resonant Part 2” did generate a pretty good response, but it didn’t generate as much as it deserved. Personally, I think that this melodic vs. raw crossover is one of the greatest releases of the year, it’s packs in a beautiful and even supernatural atmosphere and when you combine that with heavy kicks you have the perfect track!
Below, I’ve added another track by Digital Mindz called “Shine,” which is brighter and more euphoric compared to “Resonant,” but it’s still a beast of a track! This Finnish producer just keeps improving with every release and there’s no doubt in my mind that his big breakthrough could come in 2016.
Digital Mindz – Shine
Drone feat. MC Sik-Wit-It – Earthquake
Signed to Unite Records is a hidden gem and he goes by the name Drone. He’s released some solid tracks over the year and I know that “The Hybrid Player” has had a little bit of playing time, but nowhere near the amount that it deserves. Like c’mon, it’s a fucking huge track with phat kicks, great sound design and sick vocals!
The first track, “Earthquake” is also awesome and it makes me wonder why talented artists like Drone go by without getting the recognition they deserve. I’m going to leave it here and let you guys listen to his music and enjoy it. Oh, and don’t worry Drone, we got your back.
Drone – The Hybrid Player
Endymion & MYST – Death Never Dies
Endymion have had an amazing first year in the hardstyle scene and they’ve done amazing things with their platform ‘Nightbreed,’ however saying that, one very special track of theirs fell under the radar. Alongside MYST, “Death Never Dies” is atmospheric, catchy and simply beautiful. Everytime I listen to it I get shivers and it’s nice to hear something versatile amongst modern raw hardstyle.
Energyzed feat. Debrah Jade – Stay
I always sing this one in the shower whilst crying or pretending to cry. No joke.
Energyzed – Save My Soul
Another one by Energyzed! This newly single act has some pretty nice music in his discography and for those who haven’t been bothered to listen, I suggest that you get on it!
Frequencerz feat. MC Nolz – Warrior
I absolutely LOVE this one by Frequencerz and MC Nolz; it’s so different to their previously released music as it’s a lot more easy-going and more listening-oriented. Overall, “Warrior” is a solid, powerful track that could’ve been picked up a little better.
Frontliner & Geck-o – Up There
No joke, when I listened to “Up There” by Geck-o and Frontliner for the first time I shed a tear of happiness. That little drum & bass part was the cherry on top of a delicious cake and don’t even get me started on that flowy, fresh melody. Whenever I listen to this track I’m instantly transported to my happy place and personally I feel that this was Frontliner’s finest work of the year and not to mention, the most diverse sounding track from TSOF2.
Geck-o – Shakedown (The Machine Remix)
Hard Driver feat. Szen – Echoes
If Hard Driver knows one thing, it’s how to create epic atmospheres and he doesn’t fall short in his melodic-based masterpiece “Echoes” featuring Szen. We can all agree that “POW!” was his hit of the year, but let’s not forget to give this little gem some recognition.
Kronos feat. Coppa – Zombies
Kronos & Drone – Level 2
If you thought that “Game Over” was a sick track then “Level 2” will blow your fucking mind! This is such a perfect follow up to their former collaboration and I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it would be to actually hear this live. Instead of going to a party and hearing the ‘usual’ top 40 raw bangers, stuff like “Level 2” would be much more enjoyable and fun to dance to.
I know that Kronos has deservingly broken through quite a bit in 2015 and has been taken underneath Zatox’s wing, so maybe 2016 will be the year of Drone.
Mandy – All Heart
Belgium’s hardstyle princess Mandy came out with “All Heart” a few months ago and despite the beautiful melody it didn’t really hit it as big as it should have.
Neilio – Stories
Judging by the previous track and the following few, it looks as though we’re having a bit of a Dirty Workz party up in here. Prior to 2015, Neilio was gaining a lot of recognition from fans, however this year things unfortunetaly slowed down a little for him. His track “Stories” is beautiful and if it were released say, two years ago it would’ve gotten pretty big, however in 2015 it’s a different story. Keep up the good work Neilio, we still love you!
Outlander – Euphoricat
Despite being a bit of a c*nt online, we still admire Outlander for his 2015 release “Euphoricat.” For those who forgot about this amazing release, click play and let yourself drift off into a universe filled with trippy, euphoric cats.
Phuture Noize & Omegatypez – Don’t Give Up
This has got to be one of the grooviest tracks that I’ve ever heard. Those tiny, chaotic baby screeches combined with reverse bass is something that you don’t hear everyday, fuck it, it’s something that’s never been done before. Oh, and don’t even get me started on that melody; I rarely refer to melodies as ‘cute,’ but guys, we got a cutie on our hands.
Phuture Noize – Existence Through Sound
Phuture Noize – Terrordome
Terrordome has got to be one of the most solid tracks from this year; it’s just a bit of a shame that it didn’t make it as a ‘big hit.’
Phuture Noize – Save Me
Along with releasing the album “Phuture Propaganda,” Phuture Noize went on to release his Existence Through Sound EP, which contains the track below, “Save Me.” Yes, I know “this vocal has been used before” but who fucking cares; this track is boss and the atmosphere is out of this fucking world!
Psyko Punkz – Frozen Planet
Psyko Punkz have still got it! They’ve released a diverse selection of music this year, however by far their best work was their anthem for Bassleader, “Frozen Planet.” However, it’s neither aggressive or happy which is probably a reason why it didn’t get much recognition.
Radical Redemption – Suicide Bassline
When you release a 5 CD album it’s a fact that there’s going to be a handful of tracks that don’t get an overwhelming response. For me, I noticed that “Suicide Bassline” was picked up really well by the public, however for that colossal melody combined with those brutal, demolishing kicks and the overall appeal to fans, the track could’ve gotten a lot bigger.
Ran-D – Crossroads (Clockartz & Chris One Remix)
Remixing is difficult, mainly because artists need to pay their respects to the original track whilst adding their own touch on it. What’s more difficult is having the task of remixing a track that’s already perfect. Magic Show signed acts Clockartz and the newly resurrected Chris One did a damn good job adding their own flavours into this Ran-D classic and to be honest, it deserves a lot more recognition than it’s recieved so far.
Raxtor – Bassdrum
As an artist, Raxtor is a severely underrated name who doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition for his amazing music. He’s been releasing solid tracks for years now, however he’s not a name that comes up much among the public. His approach to hardstyle is so unique as he focuses intently on those miniscule details as well as wacky sound design.
I’ve included two of his tracks “Bassdrum” and “Revelation” which are both amazing! Let’s let the music speak for itself.
Raxtor – Revelation
Sephyx – Gallinaceo
Young-gun Sephyx has released a ton of amazing tracks in 2015 and being of such a great quality they should’ve generated a lot more recognition. His productions, especially “Gallinaceo” and “Solaris” are really creative and utilise more out-of-the-box elements. When you compare his music with other melodic talents, you’ll notice that it doesn’t sound like a carbon copy of Atmozfears or Code Black and for me, that’s only a good thing! Melodic hardstyle needs more innovation and Sephyx provides that.
Sephyx – Solaris
Stephanie – Sicknite (Devin Wild Remix)
This remix is amazing. Whilst showing his respect to the original classic, Devin Wild puts a whole new spin on Stephanie’s “Sick Nite” and personally I find it really catchy! I know that there’s this unwritten rule that a remix will never be as good as its original, however I think we got some competition here.
Sylence – Ode
Sylence – Expand
All the way from the US of A is Dirty Workz’ secret weapon, Sylence. Apart from being Cyber’s partner-in-crime, Sylence also boasts his fair share of incredible solo tracks, including “Expand” and “Ode,” which I feel are pretty damn underrated. In 2015, it’s been rare to hear melodic hardstyle that doesn’t sound as though it’s been dipped in a huge bowl of melted camembert. Don’t get me wrong, I love camembert, but not for hours straight. Anyway, Sylence has mastered producing melodic, supernatural sounding tunes that have the power to take your mind on a journey without sounding too pop-ish. Big ups to this legend in the making, we can’t wait to see what he brings in 2016!
The Vision – Bring Me Up
Released at the beginning of 2015, some of you may have forgotten about this beautiful, melodic masterpiece. After producing raw hardstyle for a while, The Vision did a 360 and released this special masterpiece. This one has a place in my heart.
The Machine – Gimme Da
Lithuanian producer The Machine is probably one of the most interesting artists that our scene possesses. His standard of production always delivers top-quality tracks that are out-of-the-box compared to traditional raw hardstyle.
Thera & Artifact – Revenge
Old flavours, hard kicks and an unexpected, spine-shivering melody is what “Revenge” is all about! Long-standing legend Thera teamed up with new-guy Artifact and together they managed to create something extraordinary that will remind you of the good ole’ times. I’d love to see these two pairing up in the studio again perhaps for a sequel of “Revenge…?”
The Prophet – Flute
Despite being around since the very beginning, the Godfather of hardstyle, The Prophet, is still going strong with his releases! He’s released a ton of great tunes in 2015, including “Flute,” an easy-going track with a beautiful melody!
Tartaros & Envine ft. MC DL – Our Domain
Last, but certainly not least is “Our Domain” by an unlikely pair – Tartaros and Envine. It’s really nice to see Envine, who usually produces on the melodic spectrum branching out and experimenting with something a little harder and darker. The final drop in the track is certainly mentionable; those kicks will blow your mind!
So, there you have it – 50 underrated hardstyle tracks chosen by us. We hope that this article opened your minds a little further and will encourage you to listen out for certain artists in 2016. Unfortunately there were a lot more tracks that we would’ve liked to add, but unfortunately we had to squeeze them all into a list of 50! Do you agree with our selection or do you have a few more tracks that you would’ve liked to see included? If so, let us know in the comments below!
On behalf of the Alive At Night team, I’d like to wish all of our readers a safe New Year’s Eve and a skitz 2016!