UK-based Vibronics and France-based Brain Damage have teamed up to pay tribute to the seldom recognized Caribbean and African soldiers fighting in World War 1. According to the liner notes of Empire Soldiers the majority of the West Indian troops served as members of labour battalions, being the backbone of the armies – moving supplies, digging trenches and building railway and communication lines.
Or as Sir Jean puts it in the exceptionally heavyweight and downright excellent Do U Remember “Ah me she one, World War One, two, World War Two, do u remember those African soldiers, who died for your freedom… Cuz when u big up de fallen soldiers, u nah name dem at all, me check out your wallets and monuments, me nah see dem at all, memorial days a come and u nah call dem at all, me check out your books of history, we nah see dem”.
Brain Damage & Vibronics have with Empire Soldiers unleashed a beast in terms of bass lines and pounding drums. The bass line in Dub Engine is almost frightening in its heaviness and forthrightness. It’s one of those bass lines that might appear in a nightmare.
Same goes for the dub version of Do U Remember titled Do U Dub. By the title it could be confused for a love song, but, well, it’s not. It doesn’t contain much lyrics. But the again none is needed since the bass line, the drums and the echoing horns are having a voodoo session.
The set comes as a double disc with a healthy 17 tracks with lyrical tales from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean told by Madu Messenger, Parvez, Sir Jean and Mohammed El Amraoui.
Empire Soldiers is an exciting, hypnotic and bass-boosted history lesson telling the story of the colonial troops in World War 1.