Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Essence is the album Roni Size's Breakbeat Era hoped to be, a song-based, drum 'n' bass epic that works on many levels.
  2. Urb
    The stance on Essence is less confrontational than its precursor, more a life-affirming offering to elemental forces. [#79, p.128]
  3. 80
    This isn't just pop-inflected electronica: Gerald's compositions evince a depth and artistic integrity rare in albums of this ilk.
  4. Gerald ups the ante again, incorporating astounding vocalists, intricate bass and drum patterns, and mood-altering melodies and tones to take the electronic dance community by storm.
  5. Alternative Press
    He's created a bona-fide pop album--smokingly soulful, sure, but armed to the teeth with hooks and refrains, radio-ready and simultaneously transcendent. [#147, p.84]
  6. Spin
    The sound may be five years old, but Essence's insistence that jungle left something valuable behind back in '95 is a major part of its appeal. [Sept. 2000]
  7. Gerald's mastery of his own sound and style generally triumphs over his occasional lapses in focus.
  8. An LP of sleek, sophisticated and teasingly soulful tunes. Eerily introverted one moment, warm and open the next, Essence demands attention but makes for an intriguing, rewarding experience.
  9. Though his solo tracks are fine compositions, its when Gerald mixes the dark drum'n'bass beats with sultry elements and star female vocals, does his production come alive and the album become worthwhile.
  10. Infuriatingly sub-standard...

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