Boy, those kittens on the cover of Dub Trio’s Another Sound Is Dying sure are adorable. I mean, they’re dripping blood from their teeth and claws, but you know, they sure are some cute little predatory terrors. This really has nothing to do with anything, I just thought I’d get that out of the way.
Now, Dub Trio, they’re a peculiar bunch. The first thing that comes to mind when Another Sound Is Dying starts playing most certainly isn’t dub. In fact, any rational person would correctly identify leadoff track “Not For Nothing” as instrumental metal, somewhere in the vein of early Tool sans Maynard. Alas, no dub. That Ipecac logo in the bottom left corner certainly doesn’t lend any argument toward Jamaican rhythms either, though one certainly wouldn’t rule it out, given such wide ranging artists as Dälek, Kadaa and Peeping Tom on the label.
It isn’t truly until “Bay Vs. Leonard” when that `dub’ influence becomes clear. And then, it’s not merely an influence, it’s not a hint, and it’s not just a touch. “Bay Vs. Leonard” is dub. Still, it has that jagged metal edge to it as well, and that, right there, is what sets Dub Trio apart from pretty much any other band that balances both heavy rock and dub, and there are many. With Dub Trio, however, that’s just part of the equation, as the Berklee-educated group expands their sound to include epic psychedelia in “Felicitation,” which then erupts into more metal breakdowns. “Regression Line” is a brutal chug-along, though it drops into an eerie, distortion-less breakdown, which only builds up tension that’s sure to snap at any moment.
In the case of “Who Wants to Die?”, the group switches almost instantaneously between vicious riffs and echoing effects that one is bound to be confused easily, if not warned ahead of time about this band’s adept style switching. “Respite” has a mellowness about it that makes for a nice transition between some of the more hectic moments, and on “No Flag,” the instrumental trio augments their creepy slo-dirge with the vocals of none other than Mike Patton himself.
In a general sense, Dub Trio’s mashing of styles is fairly unconventional, yet in the context of the album, the group actually creates a seamless flow, preventing their bipolar tendencies from ever becoming too extreme in either case (though let’s be honest, unless they’re trying to outdo Genghis Tron, “too extreme” isn’t all that likely). Oh, did I mention the kittens?
Tomahawk – Mit Gas
Fucking Champs – VI
Mogwai – Rock Action
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.