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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!