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A Heavy Hitter in the Crossover Realm - 90%

corviderrant, September 24th, 2004

For you youngsters out there who think crap like Hatebreed is hardcore, let me point you in *this* direction. This album has a ballsy title, whether by intent or not, because DRI were one of the first bands to exemplify what we old timers called "crossover" alongside the Cro-Mags and their classic "Age of Quarrel" debut.

From their roots of incredibly short, sharp jolts of electro-shock thrash that often were less than a minute (or even 4 seconds) long that got them tagged the "fastest band in the world" in the early 80s, this is what they matured into as they quickly learned to play tighter and better. And I mean matured in a good way, since this album features a perfect blend of what made DRI special in these days: catchy choruses and riffs, a careful blend of punk attitude (Kurt Brecht's angry ranting and screaming--the man admits he's tone deaf, for Pete's sake!) and old school hardcore fury, and intelligent, socially-aware lyrics combined with metal's heaviness and power and dynamics. Yes, dynamics on a DRI album!

Opener "5-Year Plan" has a classic starting riff that grabs you right away and gets you banging and screaming along with "I lose, you win, I lose you win, I lose, you win, I lose AGAIN!" and the slam pit busts loose around you as the tempo roars into hardcore thrash mania! "But you're on my 5-YEAR PLAN!!!" is all the warning you get, and from then on, it's longhairs out of the pit! Remember, in those days it was a very recent thing that longhairs were trying to learn the art of slamdancing and would more often than not get their asses whipped at a hardcore show!

"Tear It Down" is more punk-like and has a great screamalong chorus for those days you hate everyone and just want everyone to die (also reference "Go Die" for this). "Probation" has a cool slow intro and then zooms into overdrive again with Josh Pappe's fierce, tight bass riff hooking you in like a prize salmon. Again, "Go Die!" is a tune you want to crank at the end of a really bad day. "Decisions" is Kurt basically saying "Look, I can't make all your decisions for you, make up your own mind!", in his inimitable nettled fashion--he is nothing if not straightforward in his lyrics, he leaves little to the imagination. I ike him for that, he simply says what's on his mind and leaves it at that.

The production is the best they'd had at the time, with thick guitars and an audible bass with both clarity and low end, loud, crashing drums, and Kurt's yelling riding clearly over it all. He sincerely sounds like a regular guy getting pissed off and losing his temper over the nonsense he sees around him every day, and this is his appeal, unlike the average metalcore vocalist who simply sounds pretentiously overwrought with all the growling and screaming they do. Metalcore these days is far too sluggish and pretentious anyway, it has seriously lost touch with bands like DRI who are the real deal as it concerns itself more with crafting the same old beatdown parts than energy and aggression. Get this and understand what it's all about!