If it weren't enough that Dr. Steel performs under the persona of a singing mad scientist plotting to take over the world, the music here is also seriously good. The album came out of a series of musical short films Dr. Steel had produced on the Internet since the '90s about a former toymaker gone mad plotting world domination with an Army of Toy Soldiers (used in real life to refer to his fanbase, who offer "propaganda" duties -- I.E., street promotion) and a robot band. The relatively underground music artist has recently been the subject of a minor bit of mainstream attention, due to fans comparing the Dr. Steel
shorts to Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long-Blog
, but once you get past the outfits (goggles included), there's no stylistic connection between the two and the music is completely different.
Dr. Steel's instrumentation is wide in range and often includes a combination of one of the following: electronic beats, string quartets, horns or electric guitars. This often makes for some interesting musical contradictions, such as the European jazz-themed "Marionette" being followed up by an industrial metal track, "Are We Having Fun Yet?" There are samples from propaganda films popping up at unexpected moments and even turntable scratching at one point.
Regardless, Dr. Steel is still underrepresented as a musical entity. The songs are great, and despite stylistic connections and influences from other artists in the various genres Dr. Steel appropriates, the overall brew is unique and original. The best comparison I can offer is to Mike Patton
. Many Dr. Steel songs could have been outtakes from Patton's Peeping Tom
project -- and what makes this even more unique is the fact that this was recorded before Peeping Tom
But Patton's other projects and vocalization style serve as an obvious influence on Dr. Steel's vocalization, which ranges from melodic singing to out-and-out rapping, and musical style, which ranges from opera, industrial and hip-hop to jazz, funk, chamber music and stuff that sounds like it could have come from Danny Elfman
's scores to Tim Burton movies. "On The Run" sounds like Faith No More
-esque funk mixed with industrial beats. (Other credited influences on Dr. Steel's music include Igor Stravinsky, Tom Waits
, Pink Floyd
, Nine Inch Nails
, and John Zorn
Whether you're looking for something new or just want to hear some damn good music, check out Dr. Steel.