After releasing such a fantastic album last year, The Dark Byte Rises, how could chiptune/retro noise artist Bitman possibly top the quality of it? The answer appears to be by releasing a slew of EPs within the space of a few days (back in July… I’m a bit behind on my schedule.) You’ve got to hand it to Paul Batchelor, he’s a man that keeps himself busy, who clearly enjoys the work he’s doing. This was especially evident during his superb Infest Festival performance last month. The first in the trio of these EPs is presented in the form of Eight Eight The Burning Hate.

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Bitman cooking up a storm at this year’s Infest Festival!

Title track “Eight Eight The Burning Hate” is what gets the ball rolling, and in an unusual way. A distorted menacing chant builds up, sounding almost cultish in nature. This then bleeds into a fantastic electro hook, backed by a bulky beat, feeling a lot more like what Bitman is known for. The layers continue to creep in, as genres are spliced together in pleasing ways. It’s extremely upbeat, crossing paths with chiptune goodness, and elements of 90’s rave. It’s as if Mario had accidentally warped into a Prodigy gig. It sets the tone that the rest of the EP stylishly follows. Next, a short interlude, the aptly titled “Super Fun Time Mega Stuff” kicks in, and continues the uplifting nature of the previous track, utilising a consistently speedy rhythm. The intro to “Troller Coaster” is a lively one, and is enough to get anyone hyped for the coming storm. We’re then introduced to a dubstep nightmare (in a good way, of course), as the track continues to gather momentum. The pace doesn’t even let up as it transitions into something that’s more akin to ambient noise. It still continues to have a real kick to it too, and there’s some extremely frenzied arrangements going on that make it all the more enticing. “Meanwhile” (yet another apt track title) acts as another bridge, with a catchy elecro hook and a hard beat that picks up from the previous song, keeping things energetic. The surprises don’t stop there, as closing track “Amazing Friends” introduces guitar into the mix. The riffs are catchy as hell, and this works together in harmony with the slick electronic melodies that surround it. The beat has a strong feel of drum and bass, that helps to wrap it all together into a neat package for a strong finish, all complete with a dubstep themed breakdown in-between.

…as if the listener is being whisked through a retro themed maze that twists and turns, blending together a ton of different videogames of varying types

The range of genres that are touched upon throughout Eight Eight The Burning Hate is extremely impressive, especially considering the runtime is just over the 11 minute mark. It’s a mash-up of styles that works extremely effectively, as if the listener is being whisked through a retro themed maze that twists and turns, blending together a ton of different videogames of varying types under one roof. It remains uplifting throughout, mainly helped by the fact that all the tracks bleed together seamlessly, as if it were a single song. Even on chapter one of this trilogy, things are off to a roaring start!

Final Verdict: Chapter 1 of Bitman’s EP trilogy kicks things into high gear at a lightning pace. The genre mashups are glorious, and it remains uplifting from start to finish!