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Once I had finally gotten used to wattered down D.R.I. albums and in fact the over all wattered down attitude of nineties thrash and crossover in general, D.R.I. had the last laugh and came back with a vengeance in ’95 releasing what might be considered their best effort since 1987!
Whereas D.R.I. had taken three album to perfect their more mature approach to writing longer songs with increasing thrash metal influence they all of a sudden also found back their youthful energy. The result was ‘Full Speed Ahead’ which combined the perfectioned mature compositional qualities of 1992’s ‘Definition’ with the energy, productional values and idealistic pubescent attitude of 1987’s ‘Crossover’. Yes, we have the best of both worlds here. I had not expected this to happen anymore. Especially during the mid nineties. But I’m glad they did obviously.
When listening to “Drawn And Quartered”, “Wages Of Sin”, “Down To The Wire” and especially “Broke”, “Problem Addict” and the re-recorded classic “Who Am I” the band really found back some energy this time and the performance (including the vocals) simply is their best since 1987.
Of course this album is not without flaws. Just like on the previous three albums there are a few longer tunes that just drag and feature some second rate riffs compared to the other songs. For instance “No End” which goes in one ear and comes out the other. Generic riffs and no memorable chorus. The idea behing “Level 7” is nice but it just doesn’t work because of the vocal effects. Because of the monotone riffs and overstretched feeling this song sounds as if it could’ve come straight from the 4 Of a Kind session.
“Syringes In The Sandbox” starts off with the same type of sludgy doomy riffs as “They Don't Care” but “Syringes…” just doesn’t evolve into a good songs and remaines a dull mid paced track. Why on earth the band chose this song to make a video remains a mystery. This groovy song really sucks! Do you want a comparisson? It feels like an Anthrax song from the Stomp 442 album whereas the rest of the album really reaches Persistence Of Time excellence. Same would go for “Dead Meat”. Dull groove once again and never building up to something nice. “Sucker” and “Underneath The Surface” are slightly better pounding mid paced songs but still mediocre.
As I said earlier in my review the band had beeen trying to write longer songs for some years and on their ’92 album “Definition” the maturity finally started to shine though with songs like “Guilt Trip” (but was ruined by the lame performance and sterile sound). Here on “Full Speed Ahead ” we have some of D.R.I.’s best long songs which are well composed and performed equally good. Songs like “I'm The Liar”, “They Don't Care” and “Girl With A Gun” are simply cleaverly composed top notch crossover.
So even though this probably over all is actually the best D.R.I. album since 1987, there are still some songs that either annoy or bore the hell out of me. So in the end I must deduct some points due to my honest nature.
Mediocre: No End, Level 7, Sucker, Underneath The Surface
Bad: Syringes In The Sandbox, Dead Meat
The rest: Good or brilliant!
D.R.I. has done something that no other band has really been able to do for me. And that is mix punk and metal appropriately where the result is original and ground breaking. "Full Speed Ahead" is one of their best albums by far, in terms of heaviness and sheer consistency of the material. The punk elements are still there in the sheer speed of their playing, but the instrumentation is done with impeccable precision which is practically devoid in the punk genre. D.R.I. will write some very thought provoking lyrics and they're pretty much straight to the point. Songs like "I'm the Liar" and "Under the Overpass" are memorable not just for the insanely good riffs provided by Spike, but also because of their great lyrical content.
Their lyrics are also incredibly fucked up, say for example "They Don't Care" which is one of my favorite D.R.I. songs. It's about the Donner family and it's really off the wall. One thing is for sure, no other band I've ever heard could make a song about the Donner family sound so completely fucking metal. The drumming on this album is just awesome and the double bass is really done tastefully all throughout the 16 songs. There are also some very punk like songs like "Drawn and Quartered", that's not really my thing, but D.R.I. pulls it off well.
One thing I've noticed about this album is that the band tends to do a lot of break downs with some awesome riffing / solo'ing and bass / drum interaction. This happens quite a bit and really adds a sense of technicality which you would not normally associate with crossover band. Some of the other highlights of the album are : "No End", "Syringes in the Sandbox", "Girl with a Gun" & "Underneath the Surface". Overall though, the mix of punk and metal is excellent (though on this album it seems considerably more metal than punk). I highly recommend this to anyone, as this album is a classic.
Can you imagine just how many bands would never have even considered getting into music had it not been for this band of dirty rotten imbeciles? In this, there last studio recorded album to date, D.R.I. shows everyone why they have claimed, coined, whatever you wanna say-ed the term Crossover. As with all of their preceding albums, a new way to spawn a fusion of hardcore, punk and thrash metal has taken form.
Full Speed Ahead brings new meaning to the term “Thrash-your-fucking-ass-off”. The main difference of this album in comparison to their others is their almost absolute devotion to the heavy boom of the bass. If the heavier sounding bass is what you want, this album is sure to quench your thirst. The unbelievable thundering of the bass shows through more on this album than ever before, especially on tracks like Under the Overpass and I am the Liar. The classic DRI groove is kept alive throughout the tracks and thats what truly sets this band apart; a consistent increase in their quality of music, never backing off for anyone.
The one band all crossovers need to pay homage to have set the bar higher yet again. So bow down to the kings of Crossover, the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles.
Arguably the best crossover band of all time, D.R.I. have estabilshed themselves to a legendary status amongst their many fans and admirers. This is one band thats matured so much throughout their career that at times its extremely difficult to even assume that their earlier efforts were in fact recordings done by the same band. Ever since the "4 of a Kind" album, this band has been leaning more and more towards a thrash metal style of music. The music itself has progressively gotten much more complicated in terms of structure and overall performances by the band members themselves. This album is an excellent example of what contemporary mid 90's Thrash Metal should sound like. Being at the peek the of their writting ability this album is incredibly strong in terms of both riffs and drum patterns for a former punk band. The lyrics are very cool as well and although, one can usually expect some sort of "tongue in cheeck" humor from DRI, the seriousness of the topics cannot be denied. One of the more unique things about this album as oppose to some of their previous offerings is the fact that the guitars are tuned so fucking low at times, it almost sounds as though Spike is tuned to B. But there is no signs of nu-metal shit laden trendy faggot rock, just pure undeniable Thrash.
Overall, this is probably DRI's best album with Thrashzone coming in at a very close 2nd. The song writting is top shelf and the thrash/groove is strong and prevalent throughout this entire onslought of pristine Bay Area styled tunes. (even though this is an LA band)
Highlights on this album are...Syringes in the Sandbox, Under the overpass, Problematic, Drawn and Quartered, Dead Meat, I'm the liar and Underneath the Surfass...Highly recommended thrash album!