Review Summary: Did you know, Edsel is the singer in Static X now?Blood Money: Part Zer0
. There’s a duality nestled within Dope’s seventh studio LP title that I whole-heartedly embrace, for unironic and ironic reasons. The unironic half of my confirmation comes from Edsel’s wink to the fans, affirming he is the elusive “Xero” character and singer in Static X’s current eulogy project, to the late Wayne Static. The ironic nod of approval – since this is a follow-up to the terrible Blood Money: Part One
– Edsel has gone and tapped into the cringe-inducing dude-bro pseudo-philosophies of his heyday. What I mean by that is, for those who were around in the late-nineties-early-noughties, you will remember that entertainment had a, shall we say, certain way of doing things. It was all about attitude and sticking it to the man. In the realm of music, how did bands manifest this kind of rebellion into artistic expression? Well, they’d omit the “s” from a word and supplant it with an edgelord “z” of course, or in this textbook example, instead of having “Blood Money: Part Two”, which is the logical conclusion for a sequel, these edgy f*cks subvert your expectations and go backwards. The fact Edsel has sat there and thought about dropping a word with the same pronunciation as xero is the icing on the nostalgia-fuelled cake, but I digress, enough of the intellectual nuances pertaining to this album's title; let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this industrial-nu-metal charged party like it’s 2001.
Jokes aside, Blood Money: Part Zer0
is actually surprisingly decent. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Dope over the years, they have some great songs and some good albums, but on the whole, I’ve never rated their music as anything other than serviceable. However, I will say that 2016’s Blood Money: Part One
was a disastrous miscalculation that slithered through the remit of their middling capabilities, and has taken seven years to bring out this not-so-long-awaited sequel to Blood Money
. Yet, it seems Edsel has been given a second wind in recent years – aiding the boys in Static X to create their best album in decades, and now using that creative energy to rebound into the Dope camp and amend for the aforementioned blunder. On the whole, Blood Money: Part Zer0
is indeed a meat and potatoes kind of record. Its austere simplicity is its core strength – a good ol’ slab of signature Dope with a few contemporary ideas put in place to make it sound modern, and I will say Edsel has been somewhat pragmatic with how he handles the newer elements here. “Believe” for instance walks on a razor’s edge with that squelching autotune verse, but just in so makes it work with the rest of the track, and generally, the rest of these suspect elements scattered throughout the album are inconsequential, doing little harm to what is largely a classic-sounding Dope album.
Old habits die hard, of course. Like all of Dope’s albums, there’s plenty of filler on here to detrimentally bog the record down. “Misery”, “Dive”, “Row”, and “Parasite” serve as momentum-stalling moments that make the album feel more significant in length than it actually is. Being that the latter half of the record has most of these tracks, you can imagine the pacing issues that come with it. All is not lost though. “Wide” is a hammering metal tune with a grinding Mike Gordon-esque guitar tone that bolsters the connection between Edsel and Static X’s recent album, “Lovesong” is a pretty decent melancholic break from the status quo Dope tracks of “No Respect” and “Choke”, and “Dead World” has that strong chorus associated with their more noteworthy tracks from the back-catalogue.
Overall, Blood Money: Part Zer0
washes the repugnant taste from my mouth and restores balance to their consistently okay discography. If you’re looking for a bit of nu-metal nostalgia, this will do the trick. As I opened with the review, this record has all of the edgy angst you’d expect from this kind of record, and considering it’s coming from a dude approaching his fifties, I think he does a pretty good job of conveying this young anguish convincingly. If nothing else, Blood Money: Part Zer0
should tie you over until Project Regeneration Vol. 2
comes out later this year.