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Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (DRI) - Dirty Rotten LP/CD
Review: In the turbulence of the onset of the 1980s, a social paranoia and increasing media blitz put the underground on the defensive, allowing the most extreme elements to cross over at key nodal points of intellectual activity. D.R.I. was, alongside Discharge, perhaps the most important of these unions in that by finding a way to put heavy metal riffs into hardcore punk song structures, D.R.I. found a basis for all metal to follow.
Structural metal riffing, in the heavy metal context previous to this time, had focused on Judas Priest-style logical counterpoint of phrasing, but had never transcended the mostly verse-chorus song structures of heavy metal. Hardcore punk on the other hand, inspired by the raw aesthetics of early heavy metal, had taken it to the opposite extreme with simple looping song structures but mostly very undirectional riffs. As this emptiness dawned on the community, bands like Discharge and The Exploited were coming up with more metally riffs, but still sounded like punk bands. Crossover, and the advent of the "thrash" genre with D.R.I.'s "Dirty Rotten LP," changed all of that.
Here are to be found short, simple songs, often consisting of one or two riffs played at different tempos, or differing by only the notes required to make a thematic impression. In structure, these budget riffs are nihilistic and use relative motion to achieve a form of tonal positioning, allowing their informational design alone to distinguish riffs for placement in evolving pseudo-narratives of songs. While lyrically and at the highest level of structure most songs still follow a verse-chorus approach, it has been broken by variation at the level below the segmenting of song into verse and chorus, allowing other factors to influence a growth and expenditure of a paradoxical emotion: fully aware of the brutality and terror of life, it aspires with a joyful anger to overcome stupidity.
Vocals follow the hardcore shout approach with the method of integrating melodic singing into the stream that later speed metal bands made into common practice, and all instrumentalism, while often sloppy and untrained, is highly precise: no notes are wasted even when designed to appear haphazard and random. Some of the most versatile and articulate riffs to ever appear on a metal or hardcore album are here, as well as quite a few concise statements of philosophical value appearing in songs not longer than a half-minute. Most famous as an influence on Slayer, this band is historically important and remains musically viable as a testimony to its own clarity and direction.