Skrillex – ‘Quest for Fire’ Album Review

Photo Credit: Marilyn Hue

Skrillex has redefined electronic music since 2010, introducing a wider audience to EDM, and popularizing the term “dubstep.” His mark on the music industry and talent as a producer is hard to ignore with 8 Grammy’s under his belt and a star-studded features list including Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, and Diplo. With name recognition such as his, it’s surprising that Quest For Fire is only his second studio album. The 45-minute record rings at the end of an extended hiatus, and journeys across a wide array of electronic subgenres, showing off his growth and talent as a producer and his keen ear for features. 

The album opens with “Leave Me Like This,” a poppy melancholy track featuring high-pitched vocals from Bobby Raps. It’s a perfect fit for a mid-summer backyard party, and the euphoric and complex melody will make you want to dance even if the chipmunk-esque lead isn’t your cup of tea. As we move onto the second track, it becomes clear that this album lacks cohesion; while each song seamlessly bleeds into the next and has many signature Skrillex sounds and his experimental production, each track sounds so different it’s hard to believe they’re from the same album. 

“Rumble” combines U.K. drill and electronic music with a heavy sub-bass and a tense, brooding synth, while lead single “Butterflies” is another euphoric dance-inducing number. “Inhale, Exhale” is a standout track and divisive amongst listeners. Either the repeated ‘inhale, exhale’ is found to be extremely annoying and indicative of the track going nowhere, or it’s a hypnotic chorus of stuttering vocals and drums. 

It’s clear that Quest For Fire isn’t a typical narrative-driven album, it’s more of a passion project meant to show off Skillex’s diversity and talent as a producer. This ambitious project reaffirms Skrillex’s ability to blend musical styles and showcases his collaborations with artists from different cultural backgrounds. “Xena” features Palestinian singer, composer, and flutist Nai Barghouti, starting off the track with a verse inspired by a Palestinian wedding chant. The song is accented with a bass-heavy arrangement that highlights distinctly Arabic sounds while staying in line with a typical Skrillex track. 

While the majority of the album’s criticism stems from its lack of cohesion, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After over a decade of nonstop hit-making, Skrillex chose to return to the public eye with a collective that reminds the public why he’s a trailblazer in EDM music and has received the mainstream recognition that he has because he’s good. This work comes from someone who no longer has to establish themselves within a genre and now has the freedom to create and experiment however they want. Despite the eclectic mix of styles, Skrillex manages to maintain his signature sound and energy throughout the album, making it an enjoyable and engaging listen from start to finish. Overall, Quest For Fire serves as a testament to Skrillex’s creativity, versatility, and impact on the electronic music scene. It is the rebirth of Skrillex. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Written by: Q. Preston

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