Dub Trio’s Another Sound Is Dying is a very good record. But it’s also a failure. The band’s schtick is that they combine an aggressive instrumental punk/metal hybrid thing with dub. So you’ve got thrashy headbanging stuff going on for most of most songs, and then for a minute or two of each song, usually in the middle, they break into dub. A nice idea for a song experiment or two, but as the basis for an entire band it doesn’t quite work.
Every once in a while, it does work, like on album opener “Regression Line,” but for the most part you end up wondering why they’re still in dub mode and when they’re going to get back to rocking it hard. I mean, I’m not sure what mood you would be in that you’d want to, over the course of an entire album, be swung back and forth between thrash and dub.
The best parts, and there are plenty of them, are when they integrate the timbres of dub (or just wacked-out studio inventions) into the fabric of the metal stuff. It’s always impressive when a band can layer tons of different sounds on a song and make it sound like it couldn’t be any other way. That’s what Dub Trio is best at, and thankfully there’s enough of it to enjoy here that that’s what you end up remembering the most about it.
Oddly, the worst song on the album is “No Flag,” where Mike Patton guests. On some of his more recent stuff he’s completely mailing it in. I mean this scary voice talky stuff followed by screams…we’ve heard that in at least two or three different places before. And this track as a whole kind of sounds like it’s Sepultura’s “Lookaway” redux.
This is a band trying to milk an idea too far. They’re excellent at merging different sounds and styles together, but switching from metal to dub in almost all of their songs feels forced and arbitrary. Once you focus on their strengths, though, and forget about the overreach, it’s a damn fine listen.
– “Regression Line,” “Not For Nothing,” “Felicitation,” “Bay Vs. Leonard,” “Jog On”
– “No Flag,” “Respite,” “Who Wants To Die?,” “The Midnight Runner,” “Safe And Sane,” “Agonist,” “Fuck What You Heard,” “Mortar Dub,” “Funishment”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Regression Line – I do like the switch from thrashmetalpunk to softer dub in this one. Probs the best example of that. The stuff on this album is a bit played, like it’s kind of all been done before, even though it sounds huge and awesome. Still, this track is really well done. Absolutely massive at the end.
- Not For Nothing – Is this in 5? Totally awesome in parts. Very heavy.
- No Flag – First vocals on album. Very reminiscent of Sepultura’s Roots, and of course Mike Patton guest vocalizing aids that. I feel like this has been done better elsewhere.
- Respite – Bringing it down a notch, at least at start. Yeah, gets a bit boring here. Too long, too dull. But when it opens up at 3:00…that alone gets it kept at open. I guess it doesn’t need to be 5.5 minutes, but it is kind of cool in parts. So this would probably be like under the old system for having good parts, but god I hate that beginning.
- Who Wants To Die? – Here’s another one that starts off with a crunchy riff I swear I’ve heard somewhere else, but shortly after that it goes into a cool time-signature-shifting breakdown. Later it does do a cool thing with like a reggae guitar sound. And it gets mixed up a bit more. Ends up being pretty cool, both in the way the sounds work and some of the compositional stuff.
- The Midnight Runner – Starts off very wacky for about 15 seconds, then into what seems like a compound time signature. At about 1:00 goes into a really crunchy sound.
- Safe And Sane – One of the dubbier ones. Drum in a canyon sound is pretty amazeballs.
- Felicitacion – Great riff. Really really like this one. Maybe a bit too repetitive, but does both sides of what they try to do really well.
- Bay Vs. Leonard – Is that a fight? Sugar Ray? This is epic. Massive.
- Agonist – Has some awesome, time-signature-shifting moments. Def gets too slow and broody mid-song to mix.
- Fuck What You Heard –
- Mortar Dub – Another super dubby one.
- Jog On – Interesting in a cool way. Also it’s awesome. And two minutes long. More drum in a canyon. The bit from :30 to :60 is a bit of a drag on it, loses focus as they go into their dubby stuff. God this sound is compressed. Like the scratching on the guitar strings is as loud as the rest of the guitar.
- Funishment – Great name. Guit sound is Helmety. Love the breakdown about a minute in.