While the Prime Loops catalogue does include the occasional rock or pop library, the company are probably better known for their more electronic and dance-based collections. These include a number of dubstep titles, and Dubstep Reaper is one of the more recent additions in that genre. It's available as a downloadable product in a variety of formats, but I checked out the WAV version, which provides some 330MB of content, spread across approximately 200 samples (split fairly evenly between loops and one-shots) all presented in 24-bit quality and recorded at a 140bpm tempo.
There has been a strong trend in recent years for loop libraries to be presented in a construction-kit format. Whatever your own personal take is on that (does it make things just too easy and, eventually, encourage everyone to produce essentially the same track from the loops in the kit?), this is not a route Prime Loops have followed. As a consequence, Dubstep Reaper's material is organised into categories of samples rather than song-based folders. Four folders of loops are provided, namely bass lines, drum loops, synth loops and effects loops. The single-shot 'hits' are divided up into kicks, snares, hi-hats and effects categories.
Given the 'Reaper' title — and the rather wonderfully scary Assassin's Creed-style artwork for the library — this is clearly a collection shooting at the darker end of the dubstep style (although pure dubstep has always been a pretty unsettling sound; integration of dubstep elements into mainstream dance and pop has made the style more accessible). With the 42 bassline loops — often the key element in the overall sound — that are housed in a folder labelled 'Braindead Basslines', I think the producers have hit the target pretty well. There are plenty of classic dubstep sonics and the mood is generally dark and a little uneasy. By contrast, the smaller number of drum loops perhaps don't quite live up to the 'Deranged Drum Loops' billing, although they are perfectly useable. However, the 'Frightened FX loops' and 'Sabotaged Synths' are suitably unnerving. The drum one-shots are pretty much what you might expect, but the highlight of the single-shot samples is the 'Frightened' selection, providing a nice crop of synths, sweeps and effects.
While non-construction-kit libraries do make you work a little harder, it was fairly easy to mix and match the loops and hits within the library, and this was made easier by the consistent recording tempo and the useful inclusion of the original musical key in all the pitched samples. While Dubstep Reaper doesn't, perhaps, offer anything amazingly new in terms of style, it does provide a decent amount of sonic ammunition, at a budget price point, for those looking to inject a little dark dubstep into their productions. John Walden
£9.98 including VAT.