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Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (DRI) - Dealing With It
Review: To tear down the walls of perception, DRI reduced music to its structure and impetus without minimizing the importance of artistry and ideology in music, unifying multiple genres through a crossover ancestry that is part hardcore and part "old style" heavy metal, before metal got commercial - the Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Venom style of high-speed stripped-down riffing.
Micro-songs tear you apart: the broad contrasts of slicing bar chords in the screaming 19 seconds of "Counter Attack" to the monolithic melody in riffing hung on a vocal approach to melody which has more in common with classical music, or musicals, than it does to conventional practice of "punk" music in "Give My Taxes Back." Expect the lucid extreme, since each of these songs is as distinct from the others as most albums are to all other albums, articulating to a high degree a central theme in collision of melody and motion-oriented rhythm.
Kurt Brecht, vocalist, executes formidable passages of high-speed text enunciation in a riot shout alternating into more conventional, melodic half-shouted Ramones style vocals, and his bandmates of varying personae carry a reasonable percussion and low-end rumble section, the latter nailing the eighth notes in a fast stream where required but often content to relax a laconic accentuation of chord change. Brecht's lyrics, perceptive in the innocence of youth, address a complexity of issues with the simple clarity of one who is angry from a lack of respect by others for his love for life and his world.
Drumming here presents a picture of metal/hardcore extremity before the blast beat became normalized, essentially using a very scalable minimalist rock beat that has abandoned conventional "pocket" drumming for a more industrial, mechanistic consistency. A handful of variant accentuations give each beat unexpected texture and show the origins of the blast beat in grindcore through consistent but varying use of bass-snare-high-hat combinations. Periodic accentuations untranscribeable through normative notations vary many phrases to add another variable to the playing.
The real show here is the pairing of Brecht's melodies and diatribes with the nihilism of Spike Cassidy's micro-recombinant theatre of the guitar; the energy drives this music to be propulsive and insistent at the same time it is so firmly grounded in what they easily share as a talent for structure that it delivers without falter. Heavy, violent, and conceptually lucid in its discussion of the oppressive natures of society, government, human psychology and SOCIETY, the lyrical motive expressed in this music is a balanced appreciation for life and all that is good with it, with a horror turned rage slamming all of what makes living as a human, slavery: war, law, god, fear.
This album opened the way for more grindcore, death metal and speed metal than we know how to measure, and it is this author's opinion that any self-respecting metalhead would desire to be conversant with this album and its merits on the basis of the commonality between its structure and those of everything which has come after it. Ten "normal" albums do not have the variation or inspiration of this work, and if they're metal albums, at least two of them were probably made by people wearing DRI shirts.