Review Summary: 4 years of waiting have paid off, Dope's new LP is their best to date and a wonderful album in general.
Dope is an industrial rock/Nu-metal band origing from Chicago, Illinois. But don't hesitate to give this album a listen just because this band is labeled as Nu-metal, because this record is quite far from it. Dope has had many lineup and style changes throughout their career. They have gone from industrial rock to Nu-metal to Alternative metal. And the album that is Alternative metal and the best of their career is this one right here.
The last album that Dope released before this one was in 2005, when they put out the album American Apathy. American Apathy was a real let down for the true hearted Dope fans since it had some of Dope's worst to date lyrics, the riffs on it were too distorted by the horrendous industrial effects, Edsel's vocals seemed way too unemotional and overally the album sounded like the band was bored while making it and it seemed that they had not put much effort in the album. But now, after a four year brake and with a new fresh line-up, Dope has managed to craft an album that may very well be the best of their whole career.
The line-up changes that have taken place have been vital. The former bassist Brix Milner has been replaced with Derrick "Tripp" Tribbett and the former drummer, Racci Shay has been replaced with Angel Bartolotta. Both of these changes have been extremely necessary since both, Angel and Tripp, are perfect fits for the band. Also continuing with the band are the 2 main members: the vocalist and founder of the band, Edsel Dope, and the lead guitarist Virus.
Dope has developed a new sound on No Regrets that is heavier and much more aggressive than ever before. And, luckily this sound is THE perfect sound for the band. The new sound is detectable right in the first track on the album called "6 6 Sick" (before the first song there is the intro track called "Flat Line") which starts of with some good, aggressive drumming, fast riffing and a long scream by Edsel. The bass on that track is very good and Virus brings some neat riffs to the table. This song is also probably a little bit of a tribute song to Megadeth since their famous sentence "so far, so good......... so what?" is used in that song quite frequently. The next tracks, called "Addiction" and "No Regrets", continue in the path of the first song. They are aggressive songs with some fierce drumming and neat riffs by Virus. The bass is still good, its not that complex, but it offers some groovy low-tuned lines and is very heavy in the choruses. "Addiction" is by the way the first single off this album, featuring the legendary Zakk Wylde, and "No Regrets" is a song talking about the career of Dope and especially the career of Edsel Dope.
The overall sound has changed in almost every aspect. The riffs are, like described above, much heavier, powerful and, what matters the most, more complex than before. Everybody knows that Virus is an excellent guitarist with huge amounts of talent. But in Dope he has never been able to fully showcase his skills before, because in the past Dope played quite simple and catchy Nu-metal. But in here, thanks to the style change, Virus is able to create some truly great and creative riffs. But the most interesting part is that this album has actual solo sections in almost every track, where Virus can really show what he is capable of doing(although that is still definitely not the limit for his skills). The solos are not too long, neither do they struck the listener with extreme difficulty, but they sound absolutely marvelously. They are very high-pitched and Virus trims the guitar strings perfectly to achieve the highest sound.
The new bassist, Tripp is also contributing in the overall sound greatly. The former bass player of Dope, Brix, was sadly a very uncreative and mediocre bassist with very few original basslines. Tripp on the other hand does a very good job with the bass. He may be a bit overshadowed by Virus's superb riffing but he fills he's part nicely and professionally. Nothing too remarkable in his playing, but definitely nothing bad either. The best bass parts are probably in the songs "My Funeral", where the great low picking is very outstanding and "Scorn", where Tripp totally explodes and creates some great, heavy basslines.
The drumming has also changed a lot since Angel joined the band. Angel was famous for his extremely aggressive drumming style even before he joined Dope, and he carries out that reputation very well. Dope's previous drummer, Racci Shay was a good drummer. He was precise and very calculating, but he was too restrained. He did not have the balls to go full out with his drumming and some of the songs suffered from it quite badly. But Angel, he demonstrates he's skills in the most fierce way. Some of the drumming parts on this album are as fast as in a death metal band, and Angel also has quite a lot of variation throughout the songs. The fierceness and boldness of Angel's drumming is a pleasure to listen too. There is no point in bringing out the songs with the best drumming, because there would just be too many of them.
Dope has always been famous for their laid-back style and the utterly fun, but a bit shallow lyrics. The usual Dope lyrics talk about sex, drugs, bitches, violence, party's, women and relationship's. But with all the laid-back lyrics and stuff, Dope still does a bunch of great, meaningful, and most of all, beautiful songs. The most famous of them are the songs like "Sing", "I Am", "Always" and "With Or Without You". Well on this album, Dope has even matured in the lyrical department. The album basically splits into two: the good old fun Dope lyrics are best shown in the songs "Dirty World", "Violence" and "6 6 Sick". Very surprisingly the other half has quite clever lyrics and the songs have good formulation. The clever lyrics are best shown in the songs "No Regrets", "Best For Me" and "Nothing For Me Here". And naturally there is that one classy, ballad style song that makes you think over all the *** going on in you're life.
The vocals of Edsel are also very good on this album. He has grown so much as a singer and has become one of the better Alt metal/Nu-metal vocalists out there. The melody in the vocals of Edsel is impressive and he show's a lot more willpower and emotions in No Regrets than he did on American Apathy.
All in all this is a great comeback album by Dope after the disappointing American Apathy and it is undoubtably the most consistent of Dope's albums. The band has really taken themselves together and are stronger than ever before. Thanks to the line-up changes and the willpower, Dope has managed to craft an album that proudly sits in the top of the alternative metal/nu-metal scene.
Nothing For Me Here
hell, all the songs are worth a listen….