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DJ Spooky Vs. Dave Lombardo: Drums of Death

AAJ Staff By

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Word to the wise: play Drums of Death at full volume. Piss off the neighbors—some things are more important. You'll want to feel your chest vibrate with the bass, your bones sizzle with the drums, and your very flesh seared by the guitars. These mutant hip-hop funk metal jams are not for the faint of heart, nor the closed of mind, nor the timid of spirit. But man, they do move you right along.

DJ Spooky has never been one to shy from cooking up a little chaos now and then, admittedly. But he's propelled into a nightmarish dreamzone of testosterone madness by his partners on this effort—drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer), rapper Chuck D (Public Enemy), and guitarist Vernon Reid (Living Colour)—each of whom has laid his own share of waste over the years. Other guests with less fame and fortune to their name flesh out the sound and give it texture.

The driving, raw pulse of "Metatron" pairs the two anti-protagonists of this misadventure with bass and guitars for just under four minutes of dub metal, bringing to mind some of the darker textures Bill Laswell has delved into with outfits like Praxis. It's pure masculine energy, paced about as fast as your heart, stripped down to the essentials. Consider that the baseline of Drums of Death, to the extent one exists.

When Chuck D takes the mic, as he does on three of these sixteen tracks, his contributions are strictly old-school, echoing Public Enemy all the way. Rap-metal fusion, about as deeply hung as manly music gets, is generally a risky combination—the key is to keep it from going square, and Chuck D brings a sort of oddly church-like reverence to his words. Spooky's space noises and an overall kinky flex keep things in motion.

Also featured here: a trio of brief extraterrestrial soundscapes bookending the collection, a bare bones duo between Spooky and Lombardo (a nice break from the thicker textures of the rest), a thrash metal "Kulter Krieg," and more debris of all sorts from collisions between hip-hop, electronica, funk, and metal.

Thirsty Ear has made its reputation from mixing up things that don't seem like they should go together, and this darkly tossed salad of man-made ingredients is as successful such a venture as the label has yet delivered.

Visit DJ Spooky on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Universal Time Signal 2. Brothers Gonna Work It Out 3. Quantum Cyborg Drum Machine 4. Guitar DJ Tool Element 5. Metatron 6. Assisted Suicide 7. Kulter Krieg 8. Sounds From Planet X 9. B-Side Wins Again 10. Incipit Zarathustra 11. A Darker Shade of Bleak 12. The Art of War 13. Terra Nullius (Cyborg Rebellion on Colony Planet Zyklon 15) 14. Public Enemy #1 15. Obscure Disorder (Ghosthacked!) 16. Particle Storm

Personnel: Dave Lombardo: drums; DJ Spooky: turntables, beats, synthesizer, effects, production; Jack Dangers: bass, guitar, effects, production; Chuck D: vocals (#2,9,14); Meredith Monk: vocals (#6); D

Title: Drums of Death | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

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