REVIEW: DOPE – “Blood Money, Part 1”
There are some artists and bands who can withstand trends and time without changing their sound, and Dope is clearly one of them. Formed in Illinois in 1997, Dope has produced five albums till date with several songs that went on to become anthems – “Die Motherfucker Die”, “Everything Sucks”, “Now Or Never” etc. It has to be a great piece of news for all fans of the band and of the entire genre of heavy metal that Dope is about to release their sixth album titled ‘Blood Money, Part 1’ after a hiatus of seven years following the widely acclaimed ‘No Regrets’. It will be released on the 28th of October via eOne Music. A second part of this album will probably be released later, which is evident from the “Part 1” in the album title.
On hearing the album, it becomes quite evident that the band had not been sitting idle for the last seven years and has been working hard to come up with more intense, soul-crushing metal. The band had also been touring the entire time, and is currently on a reunion tour with the original lineup of Edsel Dope, Acey Slade, Virus, and Racci Shay, along with the supporting bands Flaw and Motograder. Dope has never had a consistent line-up except for Edsel, and in this album also, he has done most of the work from producing, mixing, video directing to vocals, live drums and writing and performance duties on guitar, bass and others. Other musicians include Dope’s longstanding guitarist Virus, Nik Dibbs, former Chimiara guitarist Matt Szlachta, and DJ Nelson, all of whom can be heard playing in various tracks of the album.
Coming to the album, it begins with a very short intro voice-over before going off on a blast with the title track, which has already been released along with a music video a few days ago and has been appreciated by many. The main riff is very catchy and will make almost every metal lover to bang their heads, and the occasional vocal effects have been brilliantly incorporated. “Shoulda Known Better” is also a good composition with the grooves and the combination of Edsel’s harsh and clean vocals. “Lexapro” establishes the theme for the next track “Hold On”, reflecting the emotional side of Edsel by being a perfect combination of a love song and a break-up song – it will take just a few listens to get hooked onto this track. This side of the band can also be noticed in two songs that come up a bit later, namely “Numb” and “Razorblade Butterfly”.
A teaser for “Drug Music” had been released long ago, and the entire song is also a good listen. The album also has “Selfish”, which was also released as a music video before and unfortunately did not get positive reviews – it didn’t appeal much to me personally as well. However, according to me, the best song of the album is clearly “1999”. All old-school music enthusiasts will be able to relate very much with this one. Finally, like other Dope albums, this one too has a cover which has been executed brilliantly. This time, they have covered “Violet” by the band Hole.
Dope has succeeded in keeping their old sound alive, and a few elements of new age music have been perfectly placed in this album. ‘Blood Money, Part 1’ is supposedly very close to the life of Edsel, and will appeal to all old-school lovers of this band after a few listens.