By: Nicki Ranger
Now I’m the first to admit to a group of non-believers that hardstyle can be an ‘acquired taste,’ but lately I have also been preaching to the non-believers about the virtues of the new generation of melodic and euphoric hardstyle producers. There is so much going on in the melodic spectrum of the scene right now and I truly believe this a great entry point for friends who are new to hardstyle, or a re-entry point for those who thought that hardstyle had forever lost its way.
Unlike jumping straight into the pool of hard dance music and going straight for say, hardcore, listening to melodic and euphoric hardstyle is recommended because let’s face it, the kicks are still intense but it follows a more easy-going structure with more elements from lighter EDM. A few years back came a time when the whole scene began leaning towards the raw sound, and while raw does have a place in our world, it’s not for everyone. Now however, raw has been recognised as a separate subgenre, even having its own stage at major festivals, making room for melodic hardstyle to have a new day in the sun.
So with the booming popularity of raw hardstyle in modern times, it’s always nice to remember the other side of the spectrum and show appreciation to some great artists who are still successfully piloting within the melodic side of things. I’ve picked a few of my personal favourites and also showcased some names that can help new listeners ease into the genre.
For a melodic hardstyle initiation, I point my friends towards some of these artists:
Where else to start this list but with the Swedish grandmasters of the melodic hardstyle sound, Wasted Penguinz. The signature Wasted Penguinz sound is so incredibly distinctive, a haunting melody leading to a crashing drop that strikes deep into your soul and carries you away. These guys are masters at creating music that takes the soul on a journey of happiness; it’s truly emotive and even reduces some hard dance fans to tears!
If you wanted to single out a particular track as an anthem for the current melodic hardstyle trend, a good contender would be Atmozfears – “Release.” Premiered at Qlimax last year and filling dancefloors with smiles ever since, the track took the Hardstyle scene by storm, with fans ripping it from live sets every chance they got! It’s even got a catchy sing-along vocal to induce those hands-in-the-air, hug-a-stranger moments that we all need on a night out and it makes us remember what Hardstyle is all about – happiness. As an artist, Atmozfears is versatile, his harder productions like “Singularity,” “Madman,” with Sub Zero Project and “Never Again” with Energyzed grasp the hearts of all kinds of fans.
One of the very youngest new guns in the scene, Devin Wild made his mark on the European festival circuit this summer. Having released some tracks with a harder edge Devin Wild is also making awesome melodic tracks, including a collaboration with the aforementioned Atmozfears on an epic track named “Nature’s Gasp,” a collaboration with Waverider on “Chasing Dreams” and of course his own beautiful solo production, “Into The Night.” Huge things are in store for this young sensation who is predicted to be tearing apart the mainstages within a matter of years!
German producer Omegatypez was a few years ahead of his time, producing tunes like “Digital Revolution” in 2012, a tune which actually has a very 2015 sound to it! Keeping up the great quality productions ever since, Omegatypez quickly worked his way up to become one of the leading names in the melodic and euphoric hardstyle revolution. Other melodic bombs such as “Fiction,” “Beyond My Power,” and of course, the 2014 hit “Take Me High,” proved Omegatypez as a worthy contender when it came to doing something unique.
Check out his recent release “One Night” here.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that melodic hardstyle is just a game for the new kids. Not content with being one of the original pioneers of hardstyle, Brennan Heart is still leading the game, always experimenting across the full range of the hardstyle sound. His 2013 release “Imaginary,” featuring Jonathan Mendelsohn on vocals, will go down in history as an example of just how beautiful hardstyle music can be, even today in 2015 when the track is played, you can hear the crowd singing along to every lyric.
So that was my beginner’s guide to melodic hardstyle, featuring some examples of tunes that I think are showcasing a new side of the hardstyle scene. Take it easy on your newly converted friends though – while these melodic tracks may seem pretty lightweight to you and me, for a newbie to the scene this could be the hardest, fastest music they’ve heard in their life (so far… 😉 )