When Bad Company's first single, "The Nine," was released in December 1998, the British drum 'n' bass scene latched onto it with a fervor that it hadn't shown in years. Shooting straight to the top of BBC Radio One's drum 'n' bass chart, it was played at least two or three times a night during the course of most of the U.K.'s weekly jungle club nights. Truly exasperating was the fact that, at the time, few people even knew anything about the group (which has no connection to the classic rock act of the same name). In fact, the name Bad Company is just a mutation of BC Recordings, the label run by the four-man crew. The outfit's proper name consists, in true artist-formerly-known-as fashion, of an unpronounceable (and untypeable) grouping of symbols. To those in the know, these mystery men are familiar -- before recording as Bad Company, Danny "Fresh" Stein produced solo material as Absolute Zero and teamed up with Michael "Vegas" Wojcicky for labels such as Renegade Hardware and Metro Recordings, while Jason Maldini and Darren "D-Bridge" White were working together for Renegade Hardware as Future Forces. Though they had dozens of tracks under their collective belt, none of the four had ever scored as big a hit as they did with "The Nine." Last year's debut full-length, Inside the Machine
, proved that the hype was warranted. Many of the tracks combine hammering, jagged kicks with meticulously aligned snares and hi-hats, and are underscored by expansive synth melodies that suggest emotions ranging from hope to despair, catharsis to epochal wonder.