Dope [reviews]
Updated by Draconina on 07/22/2010 12:12
American Apathy |Artemis Records, 2005|

DISC 1: 1. I'm Back, 2. Survive, 3. No Way Out, 4. Always, 5. Bastard, 6. Sex Machine , 7. Four More Years, 8. Revolution, 9. Let's Fuck, 10. Fuck the World, 11. I Wish I Was the President, 12. Dream, 13. The Fire, 14. People Are People (Depeche Mode Cover), 15. Bitch (Alternate Version), 16. Fuck tha Police (2005 Version) (NWA cover), 17. Burn

DISC 2 (BONUS CD): 1. De Bon Air (F*Ck Holly Wood Mix), 2. Now Is the Time (Alternate Version), 3. Motivation (Alternate Version), 4. Spin Me Round (American Psycho Mix) (Dead Or Alive Cover), 5. Bring it On (F*Ck Tomorrow Mix), 6. Sick (Hang Your Dead Mix)

First of all, it is not an industrial rock album, but very interesting thanks to its dynamics and aggression. You get punched during the first listening, especially if you are an American. "Trusting in the sanity and restraint of the United States is not an option." That statement opens the song "I'm Back" supported by simple lyrics wrapped into an aggressive form of dynamics within the music. The moods become even more powerful afterwards.

American Apathy it’s the the most developed and the most aggressive Dope album to date, or at least very similar to No Regrets which was released in 2009. These American musicians released their frustration and anger upon a decomposing structure of the United States, as well as other issues, instead of making up fancy and complicated songs. They mocked many social-political elements which ascended into an enormous size throughout recent years and intrusively entered the lives of citizens, pulling them away from mundane daily issues with tracks like "Fuck Tha Police" (a cover song of hip-hop N.W.A. with Ice T in the line-up back then, pissed off at L.A.P.D. oppression towards African-Americans), or "Four More Years" and "I Wish I Was The President".
The music and lyrics on this album point out a sex sphere within its more animal than sensual forms as in "Sex Machine", or in the context of the joy of having free spirited sex in "Let’s Fuck" (kept in Marilyn Manson’s music style) while the nu metal song "Always" speaks about friendly relationships.

There are songs like "Four More Years" (About negative associations with America based on its national flag) and tracks full of rebellion such as "Revolution": "Revolution! Can you hear me? This is our time. Revolution! Are you with me? It's about time" and later: "The weight of the world is on the shoulders of the man who can, but that's the way it is and it's the way it's always fucking been, forever and ever since this cold black world began, ruled by greed and by 'pocrisy and the superficial mind fuck again".
If a half of the citizens in the United States were fans of Dope, they’d probably go along with the band towards the White House lighting Molotov cocktails.

The album undoubtedly has an anti-political vibe like in "I Wish I Was the President": "I wish I was the President, I'd have a big white house with a yard and a fence so I could keep all the terrorists out. I'd be the king of the world I would lie and deny and get high with little honor role girls" in what seems to be an allusion to Bill Clinton and his oral romance with Monika Lewinsky, followed by: "I'd live a hell of a life I would never pay taxes and I'd barely have to see my wife".

It’s not surprising that rock musicians have often referred to the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy (2001) and related issues (For instance before Ministry quit they had been focused on laughing at former U.S. President George W. Bush and his pro-war politics). When the United States entered a deep economical crisis it sucked money away for armaments and got crazy about making newer and better ways to stop terrorism, but the biggest impact had stricken its citizens, then spread around the whole world forming a non written law: "The citizen has the right to lose his privacy" which evolved into the Patriot Act and a satellite system named Escelon launched on a spy mission of VoIP chats, tracking blogs, websites and social networks leading to seizures of the "suspects". All of this as religion carried its twisted message out among sacral places. Yes, even now this review is being scanned in case of harmful terrorist content because it is already filled with a few meaningful keywords and is easily available over the Internet. However, the frequency of the keywords is too low to put Fabryka Magazine on the blacklist.
(Hi guys! How are you doing?) ;)

Getting back to the songs. American Apathy is like a boxing bag. You can release your frustration and it reflects itself in the form of giving your own energy back, twice as heavy though. "Fuck The World" or "Bastard" are the perfect songs for both frustrated teens and adults. "No Way Out" is another example with the lyrics such as: "Sick of all the weakness and all the pain, sick of all the bullshit and the shots and the blame, sick of all the losers and all their lies… Sick of all you assholes and I wish you’d all just die". Plus a wall of crunchy guitar riffs and bass similar to Fear Factory songs with drums going nuts in the background. Cool, right?

The lyrics aren’t the strongest point of Dope, however they can make very well said, cynical summaries. What else is necessary to fill up dynamic music if not the simple, repetitive sentences co-existing well with guitar riffs and drum beats?

Are there any disadvantages on this album? Well, one, or perhaps even three, "Always", "Dream" and "The Life" didn’t match the tracklist as far as I was concerned. They sound as if they were the spare outcasts of previously released albums. The songs between tracks number 14 and 17 come from past Dope albums and it seems they were attached to this CD in slightly different versions.

That was the review of CD #1. The additional album contains mixes of previously released and better known Dope songs, which is actually a good idea. It’s also wise that they were added to American Apathy instead of any earlier albums thanks to their aggressive dynamics.

American Apathy has been rated high in many magazines and it this case I agree, but on the contrary I disagree with the opinions of those who classify the band as industrial rock or industrial metal.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/22/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)

Life |Sony/Epic, 2001|

1. Take Your Best Shot, 02. Now Or Never, 03. Nothing (Why), 04. Stop, 05. Thanks For Nothing, 06. Die MF Die, 07. What About, 08. Move It, 09. Jenny's Cryin', 10. With Or Without You, 11. Crazy, 12. Slipping Away, 13. March Of Hope, 14. You're Full Of Shit

Life: This album seems to be kept in a "tribute" format, or as if Dope wanted to say "We can play that stuff too". This album is full of compromises as if the band made it for quick money (Read: To grab an interest of certain receivers – fans of other bands who are still eager to spend money in the name of supporting their idols and possibly similar music too).

Metallica didn't release any new albums between 1997 and 2003 so Dope decided to fill the gap with their own versions of similar tunes with songs like "Crazy" and "Slipping Away". Then the band proved how easy it was to copy Rob Zombie in "Move It", "March of Hope" and "You're Full Of Shit", with the same guitar riffs, song structures, choruses, sampling and effects on vocals including the same "yeah" put in typical predictable form for Zombie song parts.
I'm wondering whether it was a casual convergence of the titles "Jenny's Cryin" and "Jamie’s Crying" by Van Halen or "With Or Without You", the classic song by U2. Other than that, I'm not surprised by the tuning on "Now Or Never" in the way Limp Bizkit used to sound, since there was Josh Abraham (Limp Bizkit, Coal Chamber, Orgy, Deadsy) involved in the album production stages of Life.
You may find other borrowed influences and comparisons to other rock or metal bands while listening to Life, but as I pointed out, only the songs I just listed were the ones I was sure about since the last time I heard the original songs.

"Life" doesn't have much original music on it. It could have been easily filled with cover versions of the songs which fans Dope probably wanted to steal from their own music collection. Dope is however experienced with covering songs since there's usually one or more on every one of their albums.
This is a weak album, to be omitted with no regrets while checking into the Dope discography.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/22/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)

Felons And Revolutionaries |Epic, 1999|

1. Pig Society, 2. Debonaire, 3. Everything Sucks, 4. Sick, 5. Kimberly's Ghost, 6. Spine For You, 7. One Fix, 8. (Untitled), 9. Intervention, 10. America the Pitiful, 11. Sh*T Life, 12. Wake Up, 13. I Am Nothing

This is the only Dope album that represents industrial rock/metal values, but it doesn't surprise me since it was recorded in the industrial rock music friendly 90’s. It is filled with thirteen short, aggressive and time resistant songs.

Music on this album fortunately isn't soft or depressive. "Debonaire" as well as "Everything Sucks" belong among the best songs on the album. "Sick" is an industrial metal track reminiscent to the sound of Bile, Schnitt Acht and N17, but "Kimberly's Ghost" and "One Fix" could be compared to Gravity Kills tracks, although kept in much heavier settings. Other songs like "Spine For You", "Fuck The Police", "America The Pitful" and "I Am Nothing" should satisfy fans of Marilyn Manson’s music who are familiar with his songs and should find enough associations to easily compare it to his music.

Dope seems to enjoy making cover songs and actually, they turn out fairly interesting (covers for ‘People Are People’ and ‘Rebel Yell’ were included to the next albums of Dope). In fact, this album finishes with a cover of the famous "You Spin Me Round" originally recorded by Dead Or Alive, whose sexy leader Mister Pete Burns was shocking by identifying himself with transvestites in 1985 and who has become a 50 year old Miss Burns these days. Sex changes aren't anything strange on the artistic scene, for instance, another man who decided to go ahead with the operation was Genesis P-Orridge from an industrial-art project known as Throbbing Gristle, however this issue is a topic for another article.

Dope used a lot of samplers for the recording of this album for the purpose of emulating the industrial rock sound. Unfortunately, the media (newspapers, magazines, TV etc.) paid little attention to the band, and with times changing had not wanted to verify their opinions, so Dope is still categorized as industrial rock, while their music isn’t pure industrial rock at all, but because the band opened for nu metal touring acts right after the release of their debut album, the typecast stuck. It's also easy to notice that Dope often sold guitar driven music without loosing sight of their initial goals, making simple, aggressive tunes based on basic metal musical instruments like guitar, bass, drums and vocals.

Felons And Revolutionaries is almost eleven years old, but because its music had been built upon the guitars, it doesn’t sound old and dated. The music on this album still sounds fresh, inviting some head-banging and the release of aggression. Moreover, these high energy songs would sound great live again. This is a timeless album indeed, and definitely worth listening to.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/22/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)

No Regrets |Koch Records, 2009|

1. Flat Line, 2. 6-6-Sick, 3. Addiction, 4. No Regrets, 5. My Funeral, 6. We Are, 7. Dirty World, 8. Interlude, 9. Violence, 10. Best for Me, 11. Bloodless, 12. Scorn, 13. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol Cover), 14. I Don't Give a Fuck, 15. Die, Bom, Bang, Burn, Fuck, 16. Nothing for Me Here

Some reviewers categorize Dope ias the new wave of industrial metal music, but after comparing their music to nu metal songs I think there’s a spot for Dope along those lines. There are meaningful differences between these two styles, for instance, nu metal doesn’t use any mixtures of industrial samples appearing in the background, but its arrangements are based on the same set of instruments found as the basis of metal music. The only Dope music that resembles industrial metal are some tracks that utilize some speeches by George W. Bush and a few other American politicians caught in a soundbyte, along with some audio dialog samples from movies, similar what was commonly used by Ministry.

Other than that, Dope should be categorized and placed side by side with bands like Disturbed, Static-X or even Pantera. An Australian band known as Jerk may also be a good example for an industrial metal music representative, sounding probably as aggressive as Dope, however Jerk used nu metal influences with a multitude of industrial sounding samples.
I find the music of Dope to be very well composed, produced with satisfying metal guitar riffs, the use of "live" instruments, along with aggressive drumbeats and torn vocals.

No Regrets is definitely the heaviest Dope album since their debut album, Felons And Revolutionaries released in 1999. This album is very reminiscent of Pantera as I mentioned above, but Slayer can be referenced as well (in "We Are", "Violence", "6-6-Sick", "Best For Me" and "Scorn").
I really liked the song "Addiction" with a special guest appearance by Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) as well as a very well done cover song of the famous "Rebel Yell" originally done by Billy Idol. This song wasn’t changed very much at all from it's original form, but many more dynamics and aggression were to be found in the new version. Edsel Dope’s voice perfectly matches Billy Idol's vocals. Is that a mix of both perhaps? However they made it, it came out very cool. This wasn’t the first cover song Dope has made, because "People Are People" (Depeche Mode) can be found on the American Apathy album released in 1995. "Die, Bom, Bang, Burn, Fuck" is kept in the classic style of Dope, but "Nothing For Me There" sounds definitely nu metal.

There have been plenty of musicians in the Dope line-up throughout the years, including former guitarist and bass player Tripp Eisen (1997-2000), who is now a 44 year old lover teenagers. He was in jail twice in 2005 for sexual intercourse with 14 year old girls, and again for violating the terms of his probation in 2008. Eisen also played guitar in Static-X along with Murderdolls for a short time.
Edsel Dope is the headmaster of the band, but his brother Simon Dope left the band in 2001.

This album should satisfy the listeners of heavier versions of the nu metal style, but probably offers little fun to fans of industrial rock and industrial metal music.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/22/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)

PS. The rating is based on a general overview of the music and production qualities, arrangements ideas, aggression level and so on. However, this rating shouldn’t be compared to the same scale given to other albums reviewed in this magazine that have qualified to be listed as industrial rock or industrial metal. (NINa, 07/22/10)

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