Over the past couple of years, Vegas-born Shaun Bacus AKA Hekler is steadily making a name for himself with some amazing releases, collaborations and performances. Now, in 2023 he is taking it to the next level with the release of his hard-hitting album Abyss. The 10-track album is a blistering ride through dubstep and bass with mean-mug-inducing hip-hop flourishes. Overall some sweet sonic goodness for bass lovers across the world.
Headstrong and always going hard in the paint, Hekler has been running with the Bassrush crew for more than four years. He originally sprouted up on the label back in 2018, linking up with the mighty MARAUDA on their creepy, crawling collab aptly titled “Buggas.” Now we see him return with his 10 track work of art. Hekler invites us on a journey and welcomes listeners with “Act I,” a short, dark, and distorted prelude that sets the sonic tone for what’s ahead. The title track begins to reveal the project’s true nature with ominous keys, screamy vocals, crisp drums, and raucous drops.
Metallic and industrial elements run rampant amongst the carefully controlled chaos. The energy carries forth in “Blacked Out,” a ruthless dubstep slapper that’s assured to decimate festival crowds. Pitched-down vocals and glitchy grooves are layered with a sci-fi undertone. The pulsing drops are nothing short of brutal, delivering massive waves of pure filth.
Mixing bass and rap come “Till I Die” with Glenwood! and KANIN, and “Bank” with Sam King. KANIN floats over the former with a braggadocios swagger. Warbling basslines and thick kicks punctuate his sky-high aspirations until his shameless self-boasting becomes magnified by the throbbing bottom-end and a wealth of womps that effectively puts the money where its mouth is. Fellow Vegas native Sam King provides an opposing presence that comes out swinging and aggressive. Hekler matches his energy on “Bank” with off-kilter and menacing production.
“A couple years ago, I was supposed to put out an album that fell through and never really saw the light of day. I had spent countless hours going back to the basics and sort of re-teaching myself
everything I knew but in a totally different way. A couple weeks go by, and I decide to start a new record that represents a new ‘creative journey.’ I had no prior planning or ideas, so I kind of just dived in headfirst. Hence the title ‘Abyss’: Jumping into the unknown. Each song on this project has a different, and somewhat raw, feel to each of them. I wanted to capture the essence of how it felt in the room while I was first starting
these songs. I really wanted my first big project to show me as an artist in all ways, so I ended up taking on the design and art portion into my own hands, as well.”- Hekler
“Act II” acts as a brief palette cleanser, splitting the project into two parts. Connecting with rapper Frankie Sinn, the two showcase their chemistry on “In My Bag.” Frankie Sinn’s in-your-face energy is expanded by the laser-inspired, breakneck drops. Otherworldly vocal bends and chops round out this monster banger. “Dumb!” goes as hard as the name may suggest. Crunchy bass, brain-bending sound design, and cartoony samples come together for a thunderous thrashing.
The project’s final collaboration sees Hekler uniting with Dnd Roxy for the aptly titled “Whiplash.” Dnd’s vocals possess a melodic rap vibe that contrast against the abrasive and skull-splitting drops. Guttural, gritty, and riddled with ruthless wubs, this is the headbanger’s anthem for 2023. Offering a chance to return to reality comes the closing “Epilogue.” The futuristic score provides a melodic finale that evolves and intensifies, ending with a haunting clash that frees listeners from the Abyss… until they hit replay.
With Abyss Hekler definitely showcases his technical talents and unbridled creativity. Whether it is his own technical skills or joining forces with fellow producers. He is delivering a multitude of devastating bangers and epic interludes for a rugged ride. Hekler’s new album Abyss is available on all platforms via Bassrush Records.
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