DMBQ, Essential Sounds From the Far East

DMBQ, <em>Essential Sounds From the Far East</em>

DMBQ’s Essential Sounds From the Far East is the best record I’ve gotten in six months. By far. Yeah, some of them were free, but I paid for some, too, and we’re talking about sixty or more CDs, here. If you’re hard to impress, and you like hard music, seek out DMBQ, quick. I’d pay Best Buy prices for this record, and am writing this review to try to convince you to do just that. (If you have to.)

Just as a quick note, by the way, I’ve been turned on to Japanese bands before. And DMBQ is my favorite band right now, period. I’m not giving ’em any credit for being Japanese. At all.

On Essential Sounds, the band at first it sounds like they are trying to out-led Led Zeppelin. It’s free-form hard rock — a lot of the time I wondered if it was improvised, and furthermore, if each band member was even aware of what their bandmates were playing, but then suddenly two guitars would play the same riff simultaneously, or the whole band, which has spent a minute or more playing wild free-form improv Sabbath metal, will enter perfectly into a bridge/break. Yeah, Led Zeppelin did that, and Essential Sounds is often the same genre of music. It’s metal as it was defined 30 years ago. It doesn’t sound like Led Zeppelin, though, despite the fact that their press release says it sounds like “Led Zeppelin on acid.” But wait: I’d always understood that Led Zeppelin was on acid in the first place. Right?

Press releases aside, I’ll tell you what I think, now. Whether they are copying or carrying on a category of rock music, I dont want to say, but there’s something to be said for perfecting a style. I listened to this thing seven or eight times in a row in my car, and had to keep adjusting the bass, turning it down as I turned the volume up. And I kept on wanting to turn the radio up — a lot — and then had to turn the bass down — a lot. Just to keep from blowing the speakers. And that’s a good thing. I remember a quote from Kurt Cobain when he went in to record Bleach, where he said “We want to sound heavier and slower than Black Sabbath.” Well, there are moments where DMBQ are slaying that goal.

I deliver pizzas at night. That’s some of my best music listening time, and I get in and out of my car with work on my mind about thirty times a night. So, there were several times when I didn’t remember what was in my CD player. I’d get in and think it was an old Sub Pop recording of Soundgarden. Seriously — a screechy tenor vocalist who uses every inch of his formidable range, and everything seems to be tuned down lower than any band I’ve heard in the past decade, but two guitars are also really working the high notes with a metal intensity. To top it all off, this DMBQ record kind of sounds like it was recorded live, because of all the improv and such, so I kept thinking I’d stuck in this Soundgarden bootleg I bought at a CD Warehouse for fifty bucks a long, long time ago. A really long time ago. Ten years ago, this disc would’ve sold five million copies, and DMBQ would’ve played Lollapalooza. Today, though, you can have ’em all to yourself, and be the first one on your block to blah, blah, blah…

(Estrus Records -- P.O. Box 2125, Bellingham, WA. 98227; http://www.estrus.com/; DMBQ -- http://www.dmbq.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, March 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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