Category: Industrial / Metal / Alternative
Album: Blood Money Part 1
Blurb: Dope continues to do what Dope does best, making this a strong release from a band that has never compromised or capitulated to convention.
Never a band to be boxed into a single category, Dope has spent the better part of two decades blurring the lines of modern alternative rock and metal, infusing elements of nü-metal, rap, industrial, goth, and all points in between. Though the band has been far from quiet since the 2009 release of No Regrets, fans have been waiting a long seven years for Dope to grace their ears with a new album. A few teaser singles, music videos, and tours later, Blood Money Part 1 finally came to fruition, picking up where the previous album left off with the band’s signature blend of virtually all styles of modern rock to create an assortment of sounds that driven by Edsel Dope’s raucous vocals and acerbic songwriting achieves a cohesion that would escape most other acts attempting such a mix.
Right off the bat, “Blood Money” pummels its way through the speakers with a martial rhythm of pounding percussion and chugging guitars, Dope’s scathing vocals entering with their usual power and viciousness. Other songs like “Shoulda Known Better,” “1999,” “Drug Music,” and “Hypocrite” will surely please longtime fans of Dope’s more industrial-meets- nü-metal stylings with their blend of lyrical nihilism, gritty synths and samples atop scorching guitar riffs and manic solos, and controlled percussive chaos. Even the interludes of “Lexipro” and “X-Hale” are worthy of mention with Dope’s production mastery on full display with bleak, mechanical atmospheres made all the more haunting by disparate, dissonant vocals, and “Selfish” stands as one of the album’s heaviest tracks with offbeat changeups in time signature, descending guitar riffs, and Dope’s clever juxtaposition of vocal melody with unbridled aggression. Throughout Blood Money Part 1, one may notice a heavy incorporation of pitch-shifter guitar effects, making for some rather explosive guitar solos, along with Dope’s effective vocal harmonization. Such harmonies are explored quite strikingly on tracks like “Hold On,” “Razorblade Butterfly,” “A New Low,” and “End of the World,” all of which are no less intense in volume and heaviness, but have a more darkly enticing melodic bent. “Numb” is especially noteworthy for its slower pace allowing for a string section and the guitars to build a harrowing atmosphere that is perfectly complemented by vocoder-adorned melodies laboring toward a restrained but poignant chorus, while the bonus track “Violet” ends the album almost as an amalgam of all we’ve been presented with – a track that is all of Dope’s musical and production powers rolled into one.
Blood Money Part 1 is a strong release from a band that has certainly weathered its creative highs and lows, and has somehow managed to come out on top with an uncompromising attitude and confident approach; even when Dope steps outside of his creative box, his music still fits in the mold that he has created for himself. Blood Money Part 1 may not necessarily earn the band much adulation outside of its established audience and the music doesn’t break new ground stylistically; in fact, the album almost revels in this fact, declaring itself proudly and defiantly as Dope doing what Dope does best!