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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.