Dance music legend Hardwell returned to the stage at Ultra Music Festival in Miami on Sunday night with a blistering show closing out the iconic dance music festival.

After an almost four-year hiatus, the celebrated figure produced one of the most anticipated comeback performances in electronic music history with a set filled with new music and the announcement of his new solo album Rebels Never Die and a world tour.

As the first part of a cascading water-fall release plan, Hardwell unveils his first two singles from the new 14-track album – ‘Broken Mirror’ and ‘Into The Unknown’.

The two opening tracks from his Ultra set personify this new chapter in Hardwell’s career. A shift in sound met with a return to touring, Rebels Never Die marks a critical point in the musical transformation for one of electronic music’s biggest stars with lead tracks, ‘Broken Mirror’ and ‘Into The Unknown’, symbolising the theme of album’s fabric.

Broken Mirror

The haunting delivery of ‘Broken Mirror’ featuring a ticking clock and the sound of Hardwell’s voice is a cinematic nod to a darker sound. His monologue, accompanied by a dark metronome tempo and industrial chimes, gives ‘Broken Mirror’ an eerie dystopian feel.

Building and swelling with intensity before reaching an apex, Hardwell unleashes a powerful statement that touches on his reflective mindset.

“I know you have your opinion. But let’s be honest…Your opinion of me does not define who I am. Because I know what you expect me to be. Now, I’m gonna show you who I truly am.”

Into The Unknown

In contrast to the spoken-word lead single, the second release is ‘Into The Unknown’. A solid dance floor-orientated cut, ‘Into The Unknown’ marks the first single that had the world stand up and pay attention during Hardwell’s set in Ultra Miami.

A searing techno release that brings in abrasive, ripping swathes of synth and oscillating melodic arpeggios. Fusing an otherworldly female vocal with ominous goosebump-inducing tension, Hardwell’s creation with ‘Into The Unknown’ is a menacing addition to the stadium-techno genre.

Whilst Sunday’s return on the Ultra mainstage was not without its nods to the classic EDM pomp of Hardwell’s career, his closing set was the dawn of a new era.

Free from any expectations and pressures, Hardwell used his time away on sabbatical to pour all his energy back into the music – rekindling his inner spirit for what drove him as a teenager to conquer the electronic scene into his adult years.

Now, with the canvas wiped cleaned, Hardwell is back, and both ‘Broken Mirror’ and ‘Into The Unknown’ are just the beginning of this new saga in the Hardwell story.

‘Broken Mirror’ and ‘Into The Unknown’ are out now on Revealed Recordings. Click here to stream the tracks.

Tickets for the Rebels Never Die album world tour are available now via www.djhardwell.com.

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Watch Hardwell’s return at Ultra Music Festival in Miami: