Review Summary: Who knew that D.R.I. could put out quality stuff as a thrash group?
D.R.I, also known as Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, started off their career as a hardcore punk group, similar to the Circle Jerks and Black Flag. After the group began to listening to groups like Metallica and Slayer, the band changed its style on the 1987 album Crossover, and with this album they coined the name of a new genre called "crossover thrash", which was a cross between hardcore punk and thrash metal. Once D.R.I. did this, many other bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Corrosion of Conformity did this as well. After the release of Crossover, D.R.I. changed their style to an all-thrash sound. The result is 1989's Thrash Zone.
Thrash Zone is an often overlooked album in D.R.I.'s discography. Many only acknowledge the band's first three albums and dismiss everything else as garbage, yet that is far from the truth. Thrash Zone is a very impressive album. One thing you will find out from the very start of the album is that this album is fast. Really
fast. The opener, Thrashard, begins with a crushing riff, and then it all starts. Ferocious drumming, speedy guitars, and gruffy vocals are all phrases that can describe Thrashard. The song is about the band going to a gig and the crowd moshing it up. After the first verse, things slow down, and a new riff starts. This is one of the things I like about Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. Many of their songs have a ton of riffs. The song will start off at a million beats per minute, and then out of nowhere, it will slow down drastically, and nearly as soon as it slowed down, it will pick up speed. Thrashard also has some great lyrics, about the effects of moshing. It's fun while you're doing it, and it hurts like hell, but you don't notice the pain until the next day. I always laugh when Kurt Brecht shouts out in his incredibly rough voice that members of the crowd are acting like an "indian from outer space drunk and high on weed.".
One of the things I like about D.R.I. has to Kurt Brecht's voice. On earlier albums, he sounded like a punk version of Tom Araya, but on Thrash Zone, he sounds like Tom Araya. I don't know why I like the man's vocals so much. However, he is different from Tom Araya enough to have a unique voice. Also, Spike Cassidy is a very underrated guitarist, like many other thrash guitarists like Gary Holt from Exodus and the guitarists from Testament. His riffs are so good that he could crush someone's bones with them. Also, his solos are pretty nifty too.
D.R.I. have some of the stupidest lyrics known to man, but I love them. The lyrics are best on songs like the aforementioned Thrashard, You Say I'm Scum, Labelled Uncurable, The Trade, and Abduction. You Say I'm Scum is a song about metalheads and skaters, Labelled Uncurable is about AIDS ("I shouldn't have scored that chick!"), The Trade is about rockstars, and Abduction is about the abduction of children. Many of the songs on Thrash Zone have awful lyrics, but they're so funny that you gotta love 'em.
I'd say the only negative aspects of Thrash Zone is that some of the tracks tend to run together a bit. Fourteen songs is a bit much for a thrash metal album, and some songs like Strategy and Give A Hoot just get too boring to be enjoyable, and because of this and flatout bad lyrics, the songs just aren't worth listening to. Also, while the riffs are pretty sweet, they tend to sound alike sometimes. But the whole genre of thrash sounds alike, so that's forgivable.
D.R.I.'s fifth album Thrash Zone is an impressive album. Although there are way better thrash albums out there, this one's worth picking up if you're a fan of the genre. Listening to dead-serious thrash can get old after awhile, so that's why I resort to bands like Exodus and especially D.R.I. It's obvious that they probably don't take themselves too seriously, and that's one of the best things about the band. Because of stupid (yet brilliant) lyrics, superb guitarwork, and other things, D.R.I.'s Thrash Zone is definitely worth a listen.
Best of the Best:
You Say I'm Scum