Many who are fans of EDM will easily recognise the Hardstyle subgenre. Beginning in the early 2000s, Hardstyle has become a very popular genre, especially in Europe. One of the original creators of Hardstyle music was Blutonium Boy. Blutonium Boy is a legend of Hardstyle creations. He has made so much material that this, his fourth Essential Of Hardstyle compilation, is not even the last of all of these particular releases. Let’s hear this album and see how it sounds.

Intro Essential 4 – Intro begins with pounding percussive drums, military marching drums and a multitude of cleverly placed sounds in the mix. Blutonium Boy introduces the music with his typically distorted vocals. There is an interesting climax and conclusion to this intro, worth hearing.

Hardstyle Instructor Is Back – Blutonium Boy Oldschool Mix begins with some sparse hi-hats, interesting computerised sounds and more distorted vocals. It becomes very interesting and digitally enhanced through this tune, and this quickly launches into an awesome piece of music that is best played at a gym whilst working out. The music is really great for headbanging as well, not just for mosh pit style loving. The pounding 4/4 kick drum beat is really awesome, and the other rather tripped-out sounds present are really great. There is a breakdown after some time, followed quickly by a bubblegum sounding melody. This eventually winds up very well, leading into a pseudo-Dubstep influenced piece of music that sounds really cool. The Hardstyle Instructor then directs fans to move their body to the beats and melody. This isn’t the most IDM out there stylistically, but it does sound quite good regardless musically. There is a hilarious lead into more furious melodies. There is another sole vocal present, which promptly leads to more banging beats and interesting textures. An awesome banger, and something worth listening to. It is rather long at nearly seven minutes but is still okay to hear. A pitch-shifted conclusion follows, and this track concludes. Not bad.

Can’t Stop – Original Mix is originally made by The Renegade. It begins with some unorthodox beats and unusual science fiction styled sonic textures. This is certainly different from the Blutonium Boy that we know of. Soon enough, this piece gets launched into a very decent and spacey tune with some female harmonies, followed by our guest singing here. A strange tune, and probably not the best listen on this album, it still should please some hardcore EDM fans. Otherwise, Calvin Harris might be a better bet for female vocals and EDM mixed together. This is followed by some banging beats and static-sounding textures towards the middle. Unfortunately, this track is too long and too basic to really be experienced in all seriousness, unless you are high on Ecstasy. Towards the middle is a smooth breakdown with some cool digital sounding arising. This is okay, but again, too long and rather boring. One feels a bit drained from listening to a track that could have had a nice few minutes chopped off it. The vocals return in the second half again, but these guys a flogging a dead horse musically on this tune. Towards the end, it gets extremely minimal, which is unusual for a Hardstyle tune. It does end nicely with some percussion, but this definitely could have been done better. Disappointing.

Bum Bum Melo – Main Club Mix begins with some cool percussion, some 8-Bit style sounds and a sense of intense excitement. Soon into it, the most massive 4/4 kick drum beat you will ever hear enters. It goes straight into a breakdown section that is evocative of The Matrix. In other words, this is inspired. A Trance music melody then enters, and this is mixed to a good climax, before going straight into a hugely banging piece. The second breakdown stops the track completely before Blutonium Boy gets his imaginative and awesomely percussive music launching at its best. This is really awesome to listen to. Another breakdown emerges in the second half, and this launches back into the main Trance melody. A really decent tune to listen to except towards the end is the Trance music featured high pitch melodies that sound really annoying. This drags the tune down somewhat towards the end. In addition, this is very lengthy a track. The outro sounds cool though.

Silver Swirl – Climax Edit begins with some beats and grinding Hardstyle textures before a variety of colourful melodies enter. Again, this launches into an absolute banger of a tune that is not to be underestimated. A really cool listen, although the vocal sample on this tune is a little annoying. It is still a great listen, warts and all. A heavy banger, and the perfect music to play around your nosy parents. The breakdown has some deep, down-pitched vocals and the vocals themselves seem to exhibit a drug influenced state. Again, this is rather lengthy and a bit repetitive, but it works for those of you who dig extremely heavy and hard beats. This drags the tune down somewhat. The loud beats are fantastic here. Towards the end is a neat outro that minimises some of the more percussive sounds from earlier, just before this closes up. Nice work Blutonium Boy Jr.

Monochrome – Tribute To Yoji Mix begins with some pseudo-Acid House sounds, some massive 4/4 kick drum beats and an interesting musical progression. A nice EDM number that deserves to be cranked up loud in your neighbourhood, this is an interesting and fast-paced piece of sugar rush excitement. It eventually leads into a quieter breakdown section with modified sounds galore. A killer melody emerges and it sounds super groovy. The sounds throughout this track are very delicious and are intelligently thought out. A really decent tune, but this sounds quite dark and demonic near the midsection of this song. A strange tune that sounds cold and dark. This is a poorer effort on this compilation, but it still has its moments. Eventually, this tune continues back into the main melodic section. It’s very ordinary, to say the least. Only really worth hearing if you love Hardstyle, otherwise please avoid this tune. It is okay, but by no means terrific. A strange piece of music indeed, and one which isn’t loveable. This piece of mediocrity should be skipped. Very boring and naff. Not much else needs to be said at this point.

Helpless – Original Mix features A-Wak is next, beginning with some basic hand claps. Some interesting cut-up melodies follow, along with some traditional Roland TR-808 and TR-909 sounds. There is a ghostly and otherworldly feel to the music here. Soon enough, banging beats emerge and this piece gets grooving. A very wonderful and nicely played piece of Hardstyle, Blutonium Boy’s magic is often hit-and-miss, but here is an amazing tune that sounds much more natural, complete with piano. This tune begins to launch off when the guest begins singing, and she does a wonderful job on what would be otherwise ordinary Hardstyle. A good listen, but this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, it works well when it does. Along the way, this music does lose its appeal and even the guests cannot save it at all. A headache and a tiresome listen, skip this one as well. The length is also far too long, being nearly six minutes in length. A bit of a yawn, but then again, this is only your average Hardstyle EDM compilation. A very disappointing listen. Enough to send one to sleep.

Stay – Original Mix features The Renegade again. It begins with unusual percussion and layered Electronic textures and percussion sounds. It quickly launches into an interesting and banging tune that has some cool progressions about it. In any case, this is okay, but the formula of Blutonium Boy wears out by this point. Eventually, a dark and demonic vocal sample enters and this pounding 4/4 beat number keeps on going. Sadly, this sounds very orthodox musically at this point, nothing too special here on this album. This music is like a love poem for those who are Hardstyle fans, especially lyrically from these demonic vocals. In any case, this is very boring and unnecessary to listen to. A poor choice of tune to look back to in the history of music, and just more textural than structured. Completely dull, this is very difficult to hear without being bored senseless. Sure, there are musical progressions throughout, but nothing really fantastic here. Towards the end, this tune eventually gets more minimal, before finishing. Pathetic. The ambient washes towards the end are pretty cool though.

Make It Loud 2012 – Headhunterz Remix is a remix of the earlier classic tune by Blutonium Boy Make It Loud. It begins with simple percussion based sounds, before quickly launching into a cool breakdown and piece of musicality with distorted and cut-up vocals. It quickly launches into an amazing remix that sounds fantastic, unusually so for the compilation. This is an awesome and wicked remix of the original tune and sounds impressively cool. A refreshing piece with a breakdown near the middle, this is no doubt one of the better pieces of music from this album. Cut-up distorted vocals and other tripped out sounds are in the breakdown, and they sound terrific. This is surprisingly good compared to the mediocrity of the rest of this compilation, and it just works nicely here Still, this does not overly uplift the quality of this compilation alone. The second half changes this tune completely and sounds excellent as a result. Eventually, the latter part of the groove goes back to banging beats and interesting textures. A great listen, and likely the best track off this album. It ends with the usual winding back of sounds, before concluding nicely. Good to hear.

Rise Of The Human – Original Mix features Van Heeken. It begins with some stereotypical Roland sounds, followed by some loud and punchy instrumentation. The song title is mentioned, and some razor-sharp melodies enter soon afterwards. This is all a bit unimaginative sonically at this point. However, on the other hand, it is good to hear this from time to time. There is a string-laden breakdown with a spoken word section. This is an interesting listen, and sounds like this track should be in a movie soundtrack of sorts. This is a cool piece about fighting AI in the dialogue, which is a major threat to the future of humankind. Eventually in the middle is a strange sounding melodic breakdown. This is the sort of music you need to hear as your morning alarm to wake you up. Seemingly, that is its only purpose, enough to make one skip it and turn this throwaway record into the bin otherwise. A weird take on futuristic music, this in parts sounds really awful. Definitely not worth your time. The annoying melody is played towards the end before this tune concludes with more banging percussive sounds. Barely passable.

Over Dream – Summer Mix features Interwybez and begins with some Hardcore Acid style sounds, before quickly launching into more of the same from Blutonium Boy and co, to be fair. A melodic and dark melody is played here on the electronics and piano. It’s definitely melancholy sounding, and miserable to listen to indeed. The Classical Music motifs present do sound really excellent, even if this tune is awful. Which it is. Seriously, you’d be better off hitting the stop button and going to play golf instead, or something similar. This is just not enough for a major pioneer of Hardstyle. A weird and rather poor quality tune with some awful Trance music like melodies present, this is enough to roll your eyes at. A terrible excuse for a piece of music, this is negative sounding Trance music parody at its best. Anyway, it gradually concludes with piano and other interesting sounds. It’s fairly awful.

Mad Race – Original Mix features Andy Wolf. It begins with a great Hardstyle based intro, before warping into a fantastic piece, quite possibly the best of this album. It quickly launches into a thumping, crushing and dancing tune that is unique and wonderful in its approach. A really awesome tune to listen to, the breakdown near the middle of the song makes this tune even more interesting. Still, this is a mediocre listen that sounds good, but not great. The high pitched melody on this tune is super annoying. Again, this is a number that could have been put elsewhere. It’s okay, but fairly forgettable. There is a breakdown in the second half, before launching into an awesome setting of cut-up beats and DJ scratches. Towards the end, some warped 4/4 kick drum beats and sounds play for you, just as this tune finishes. Not bad.

Evil Rhythm – Club Mix is with Andy Wolf and Positive Project. Begins with some Lil’ Jon styled shouting throughout, quickly entering into a lengthy piece of music that sounds really unusual here. This piece is so unusual, in fact, that it makes you wonder if it really should be on this compilation. This is more like Happy Hardcore than Hardstyle. Still, it does pack a punch to it and is a cool listen indeed. Towards the middle is a symphonic background that sounds eerie and odd. Some distorted vocals enter, and this sounds a little like Lord Of The Rings in this part because of it. Afterwards, the music progresses along quite nicely. A good piece of clever sounding music, this sounds like a real banger. No doubt great party music, this tune is a loud and intense beast. The music is rather dated here, but it does the job well. Proof of the cool banging nature of Hardstyle is a decent listen, this eventually wraps up very well. Towards the end is yet another cut-up lyrical and musical mash, which is really cool. Fun to hear. Towards the end this piece goes mental and is very much party music. Quite good nonetheless. An enjoyable tune.

God’s Grace – Original Mix features The Renegade. It launches into some basic production, Acid House sounds and handclaps. Some sampling is present here, along with a terrible minor key melody to boot. This is an underwhelming listen, again, it is more of the same. It doesn’t do justice to listen at all, even the breakdown does not. A rather awful and forgettable tune, skip this part of the album at least, and you’ll be fine. This track is snooze central, and thankfully it is a little shorter than what came before it. In any case, the music here is certainly different, but very boring. A very ordinary listening experience here.

A Miserable Night – Original Mix features The Renegade, and it begins with some sparse beats, basic EDM sounds and a feeling that we are getting more of the same in this musical genre here. The 8-Bit guitar parts are rather odd to listen to. It’s okay, but by no means fantastic at all. A decent listening experience, but nothing special on this tune. A good breakdown is near the middle, before the banging beats resume. All the same, this is better than one would expect, but it still lacks colour, flair and inventiveness. An okay finish to an outright disappointing album, this is not a great signal of talent here. This is like an alarm that needs to hit snooze on, urgently. The album finishes with spare percussion and a very long time doing so to conclude.

This is not a great release and is only really recommended to hardcore Hardstyle fans. The rest of the listening public should avoid this, nothing decent nor special here. The music is very limited stylistically and totally naff, for the most part. Blutonium Boy only appeals to a niche genre, and that is where he will stay musically. Disappointing, to say the least.

Just not good enough.