Dub Trio have achieved a very difficult task on their new offering on the venerated ROIR label: perfecting a fusion of heavy music with dub production values that detaches wholly from his ubiquitousness Bill Laswell ‘s “dub+everything” fusions of the early to late 90’s.
Anyone not familiar with DT’s genre-bending ways might be thrown at first from the chugging headbang and spartan intro of album opener “En Passant”, which throws a grimey thrash breakdown under an echo, with sudden assertion of the Bam Bam riddim (anthem! wheel!) to freshen it up and give a bit of riddimwise cred.
Darker we go into detuned sludge/doom territory with “Swarm”, a monstrous song that keeps a mountainous, pounding riff building while spooky bits of voices poke through the mix and resolves into huge verbed snare shots over the baddest riffs I’ve heard all week.
“Control Issues Controlling Your Mind” snarls out the gate with an almost Maiden-esque NWOBM swagger, devolving suddenly into a fat bottom end prowl till even that drops away and the dub is revealed in the bass melody before blasting back into full banger gallop.
Of course, one can’t deny the influence of dubstep as a continuation of the decades long story of dub, so Dub Trio reach out and hug it with a slow roller, the dank and atmospheric “End Justifies the Means” which wouldn’t be out of place in a Skream DJ set at all (I sense a Badawi remix coming…). After that track’s final ultra-fat square wave squishes you in the face, we’re segued into the album’s centrepiece “Words” which while keeping the central theme of giant metal riffs and dubwise production, adds generous helpings of Mogwai-esque chordal/modal obtuseness, with space breakdown referencing mellotrons and alien soundscapes before opening up the dark metal jams for the end. “Patient Zero” opens up some blast beats and rising and falling riffs that draw on equal love of Ministry and High On Fire. “1:1.618” starts off so Cage-ean with some prepared piano samples (I had to check my Winamp hadn’t shuffled to some John Cage/David Tudor album).. a tad overlong, however I still appreciated the thumping and plucking as a sonic sorbet between servings of glorious obliterating riffs. The next track “Noise” explores some extreme picking, sudden breakdowns and a generous and bold helping of distortion, even finding a way to make the digital variety palatable! We end with metallic math dub closer “Thousand Mile Stare” which turns a riff inside out over an equally fucked and hypnotic beat, breaking down druggily into dub mid-section with weird sample and hold sounds skittering over the surface. Gradually the riff erodes, then the beat until we’re subsumed by three minutes of meditative pads and floaty ambience.
This album is loose enough to feel human, yet tight enough to please the IDM nerds, bangers and post rockers alike. As a backing band, Dub Trio have earned a multitude of stripes, touring with the likes of Matisyahu Mike Patton and even Lady Gaga.. on their own, DT have cut themselves a new niche and should be adored and well received by the few of us nerds who like both heavy music and smoked out dub tunes combined. Heavy, vast and mind-bending, Dub Trio has perfected their particular fusion of style on the awesome IV.