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This is my personal favorite of the two hardcore albums that D.R.I. did. This is where D.R.I. started to experiment with some metal and thrash elements as you can really tell in some of these riffs (See: Karma). The songs also got a bit longer here, on the previous album there was about 4 or 5 songs over a minute and here there's 16! So, you can tell that they started to progress a bit. Even then, they still remained a hardcore band.
We open up with "Snap" which is a classic hardcore song. That's the only way to describe it. Then we lead into "I'd Rather be Sleeping" which is one of my personal favorite D.R.I. songs. It opens up with a little bass fill which is fucking awesome, then pure speed in the verse and the catchy as all hell chorus... IN MY BED! CRASHED OUT! Then we have "Marriage" which like Snap, is a classic hardcore song. As for the guitar work on it, it's the usual power chord progression but there is a string bend moment in there which D.R.I. tend to have it quite a few songs on their first two albums which really separate it from some other hardcore bands who ONLY use simple power chord progressions. Just thought i'd give you an idea of the first few tracks on here.
Kurt's vocals here are no different than before, his voice never changes. His voice as always had a thrash edge to it mixed with the hardcore style they had which I think gave them a metal feel in the early days, at least that's what my ears hear. The lyrics are pretty typical for hardcore punk. Political, anti-government, personal issues etc. "Mad man" has my personal favorite lyrics on this album. Pretty fun to hear Kurt and his dad fight in the beginning too. His dad sounds like a real dick though, I gotta say!
The guitar work is your usual hardcore punk but at the same time... very unique. There's lots of guitar breaks with string bends and little solos (see: Shame) which are very different than other hardcore bands. The guitar is extremely fast, so even though it may not be super technical guitar playing, the fact that Spike can move up and down the neck so quickly while doing power chords proves that he was one of the more talented hardcore guitarists. Considering a lot of other bands in the genre stayed in one spot on the neck and never moved drastically. There is also a lot of thrashy riffs here but mainly in "Karma" and "Argument then War" which are some of the best songs on here.
The bass work is fucking awesome. It has a real distorted sound, kind of like Lemmy's from Motorhead. The bass intro in "I'd Rather be Sleeping" is really awesome and the bass really stands out in "Soup Kitchen" and "Slit my Wrist" has a really cool bass line in the beginning too. There's a lot of hardcore bands who completely leave the bass out of the mix which is a real shame and D.R.I. definitely didn't follow that.
The drums are fast as hell like all D.R.I. albums. It's hardcore punk drumming, hell, that says enough!
To sum this album up, it's awesome. No real flaws except some of the songs aren't that good and probably could have been improved but oh well. This was D.R.I.'s best hardcore punk album. LISTEN TO IT!
Standout tracks -
I'd Rather be Sleeping
I Don't Need Society
Argument then War
Ok, let me preface this by saying that this is not a metal album, at all. Sure, some of the riffs have some metal influence, but this is a pure hardcore punk album, and an early example of Thrashcore (which is just really fast hardcore punk, and a precursor to Powerviolence and Grindcore). So basically, if you don't like punk/hardcore, this is not the album for you, and even the more metal influenced releases from these guys may not work for you. However, since I am much more of a punk than a metalhead, this is perfect fro me, and I like it better than any of DRI's crossover thrash albums.
This album shows quite a bit of growth from their debut, even though it features reworked versions of many of the songs from the Dirty Rotten LP. This is more thought out, has a bit more variation in tempos while still remaining mostly in the "HOLY SHIT THAT'S FAST" area, plus this has production that is much clearer without sacrificing the raw, no bullshit sound of the band.
The album opens rather slowly, but the thrashing kicks in pretty soon, within the same, minute long song. Many of the songs feature radical tempo shifts like that, and seeing as how most songs are under 2 minutes (and only 2 are even over 3 minutes) they happen pretty fast.
Of course a few songs that do stretch the format a bit, as I mentioned before 2 of them even manage to surpass the 3 minute mark, which was a first for these boys at the time (hell, most of the songs on Dirty Rotten LP don't even reach 1 minute). On these 3+ minute "epics" (Nursing Home Blues, clocking in at almost 4 minutes, and Argument Then War, just under 3 and a half minutes), you can definitely hear some foreshadowing of what DRI would beocme on the next album, as they both feature a lot of the chugging riffs and have the long intros DRI would end up using so much.
So, in short, if you want a thrashing, ass-kicking hardcore punk album filled to the brim with blasting drums and lightning-speed-yet-catchy-as-fuck riffs, and for some reason don't have this yet, download and/or buy this as soon as possible, you won't regret it, just remember, this is NOT a metal album by any stretch of the imagination.
As for standout tracks, well, they're all excellent, though the best would be as follows; Snap, I'd RatherBe Sleeping, Yes Ma'am, Soup Kitchen, Couch Slouch, Karma, I Don't Need Society, The Explorer, and Argument Then War
In fact this album is not tight, nor was it entirely original anymore. When emotionlessly analysing releases such as these it could be considered pretty much a mess, but a better mess than the Dirty Rotten EP. But honestly, this music was supposed to be a mess. That was the whole point. A racket with either a message or plain complaining about ones personal life.
We have here 25 pissed off songs attacking the social and political environment of D.R.I.’s members and similar early eighties punkers on a micro- and marcosociological level. In other words, they’re pissed off at their parent, school, some babes and Ronald Reagan. Nothing new under the sun and de facto just as cliché as singing about vampires, mutilation or satan but of course enjoyable as ever.
The biggest difference with the earlier Dirty Rotten & Violent Pacification EP’s? simply a slightly tighter performance, a much clearer production and incidentally some palm muted metal influenced playing. No less than three songs from the Dirty Rotten EP were re-recorded on this album (“I Don't Need Society”, “Yes Ma'am” and “Reaganomics”) and because of the sound and performance they actually are better and more enjoyable than the originals.
The D.R.I. albums I like the least are the albums on which the band thought too much about it and material started to sound too contrived. Yet it is this album, an album which is all over the place and losing a grip on itself constantly, which really is what D.R.I. actually were all about. As if the album made itself before the band could consciously start to set out a path. Of course some songs here are better than others (For instance the powerful “Couch Slouch” vs the rather generic “Marriage”) but as a whole the album is one big coherent pile of sing-a-long tunes.
Like I said, the album has a certain “je ne sais quoi” brilliance. Everythings works out and nothing sounds contrived, overdone or out of place. In other words, this might as well be their most convincing (and certainly most energetic) album to date. 1985 was a good year for breakdown filled furious hardcore punk classics with irony and playfulness thrown in. Hell, that year The Stupids released “Peruvian Vacation” and let’s not forget the Mike Muir dominated “Welcome to Venice” compilation album.
In terms of importance the album just falls in between the “Dirty Rotten EP” and the all time classic ‘Crossover’ album. However when discussing excellence this album would be part of a holy D.R.I. trinity if there ever was one and I strongly advice anyone into crossover but still discovering D.R.I. to get this album as soon as possible! Ohw, and Mikey Offender (R.I.P.) played a few notes here as well. Yes Ma’am!
The midpoint between the raw, unhinged hardcore punk incarnation of DRI and the calculated, riff-heavy thrash metal version of DRI, Dealing With It is one of the Imbeciles' rottenest records to date. While still undoubtedly a hardcore punk album and for the most part compositionally indistinguishable from their earlier shit, their second LP and Metal Blade debut has a greater finesse to it, resulting in one of the best albums of its kind.
One of the primary reasons that Dealing With It trumps their debut is the addition of Felix Griffin on drums. He’s a far superior drummer to Eric Brecht (Kurt’s brother, who’d end up in Hirax, among other bands) and the entire band’s performance is tighter because of it. And as endearing as sloppy spatters of choppy, snot-nosed rage can be, when the average song length on your album is barely over a minute, proper execution lends a helping hand to memorability. A good production helps too, and this is one of the other big advantages this album has over its predecessor. The guitar sound is fuller, the bass stockier, and Kurt Brecht’s vocals just a bit clearer as he shouts his face off about nursing homes, poverty, suicide, and lots of other unsavory but all-too-realistic topics. His lyrical poignancy is in full effect here, so do make sure to pay attention as you thrash around madly in your chosen listening area.
Song-wise, it’s not too much different than their other early stuff (indeed, several tracks from the debut and early demos/comps were rerecorded for this album, including classics like “I Don’t Need Society” and “The Explorer”), but there is a detectable shift towards thrashier things. Some of the album’s longer tracks, particularly the cynical “Nursing Home Blues” and “Argument Than War” hint at the sort of excellent thrash that would fully emerge on their next album Crossover and quick bursts of lead guitar strike more often than they did before. Just another year or two and this band would become quite lethal.
But here they’re still a punk band. Dealing With It is quite an enjoyable romp, but still, it’s limited by what it is: a hardcore punk album. But for fans of such, DRI’s first two are indispensible.
After ripping out with their debut album of teen anger run amok, D.R.I. returned with a second trunk of pissed off speed mayhem. But wait! The band had enjoyed a sizable hardcore punk audience, what with their furious sound and underground record making ways. A 1984 seven-inch EP titled Violent Pacification helped cement their subterranean fame, but then they did the unthinkable and signed with Death records.
Death was a subsidiary of Metal Blade records, formed specifically to handle speedcore and hardcore bands, and, as you may remember, punks of the day thought there was nothing more banal that metal, and nothing more evil than the capitalist dictators who ran the record labels that issued it. Now in truth, Metal Blade was still run on a bedroom basis by label founder Brian Slagel, but this cuts no ice with the punks! Metal was metal, it was still a sexist, racist, homophobic form of music, and any band (despite their own individual morals) that did business within that sphere was a SELLOUT! Bollocks. The punks of the day could never get it through their mohawked heads that indie label metal was as much an underground reaction to mainstream rock as punk was a reaction to mainstream pop!
But that’s the way it was, and despite D.R.I. delivering an album among the fastest, angriest and most invigorating ever issued, the hardcore intelligentsia turned it’s back on them. Fine by me, I thought…means more for us folks who don’t care about the politics of music in the first damn place. The only real change in the band’s sound that manifests itself is in the production, which is far, far more professional than the band’s Spartan debut. More bass and louder drums help power these 25 anthems of anit-war, anti-parent, anti-school, anti-government, and anti-abuse poetry into fist throwing life. Its all damn good, but there are some real highlights. “I Don’t Need Society” is revamped from the debut and is easily one of the greatest songs ever in heavy music with it’s heavy vamping intro and the explosion of speed that follows. “Couch Slouch,” “I’d Rather Be Sleeping,” Mad Man,” “Stupid, Stupid War,” and the raging “Slit My Wrist” (total lyric: “Every day I get more pissed, slit my wrist, slit my wrist!”) all blow the walls down. And then there’s “Nursing Home Blues,” a formidable metal chug addressing the unexpectedly sensitive issue of old folks left to rot in day care centers for the elderly.
This was a cult album from the word go, the one everyone concerned with all things hard, heavy and fast had to hear. And while D.R.I. would eventually go on to earn the sellout cries chucked at them all too prematurely, this was the band at their pissed best. Don’t miss it.
I first discovered this album long before my interest in crossover-thrash truly blossomed. So, when I first slid my copy of “Dealing With It” into my stereo I was caught completely off guard, ambushed by a maelstrom of bizarre, hyper-speed, metallic punk. I didn’t know what to make of this strange music, the likes of which I had never heard before, with its unusual start/stop changes of pace, angst ridden adolescent vocals, and sheer aggression, the sort which I had always thought to be the domain of metal. But I knew immediately that what I had stumbled upon was an a-bomb of an album. A cache of boundless energy, hostility, and fuck-off attitude. As a seasoned veteran of extreme metal, I also recognized that the things I enjoyed most about metal had been integrated into this band’s style. Nowhere was the cosmopolitan nature of this album more evident than in the drumming, itself a distinct merger of styles; falling somewhere in between the machinegun drumming typical of thrash and death metal, and the fast paced bouncing style of punk. The riffs were memorable punk phrasings played at lightning speed, with a slightly dark, metal flavored tone about them. Generally the songs on Dealing With It were nonlinear, frequently alternating between fast and unmoshibly slow phases, and then ending abruptly. The tracks were memorable enough to get stuck in my head, despite being short and lacking much repetition. This album represents the pinnacle of DRI’s 25+ year career, and is an absolute must for any fan of extreme metal or hardcore punk.
My favourite thrash band, none other than Texas' legends, D.R.I. Don't ask why, but I don't think any thrash band, past or present has touched D.R.I.
A thing about I love about this album is the "I could care less" attitude in regards to being tech. I mean, this, in my opinions is what the whole/thrash/crossover thing was about, right? Who cares about being a show off, that's not the purpose of playing music. This album is a perfect example of music that lacks technically, but more than makes up for it with substance. The riffs are very punkish, but more metal-sounding than The Dirty Rotten LP. The drums are often cited as being the proto-blast beat. I dont' know how true that is...the drums were a bit faster than your average thrash beat. Kurt's are shouted, yelled, and screamed. Pretty extreme for 1985, and very good album, even though it's not the most tech-conscience, as I stated before. More n00b kids need to listen to D.R.I., SOD, and old COC, then they can come talk "Thrash" with me...