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CD Review: Dope – American Apathy

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The Dope fiends have returned with their first album since 2003’s Group Therapy. Time has not tempered the aggression brought forth by this four piece. I have had the opportunity of seeing them live on a few occasions, and have discovered they have built quite a following despite the lack of radio support, that and they put on a helluva show. This latest release, American Apathy, puts them right at the forefront of the current metal scene. No nu-metal, punk, or pop to be found here, just pure aggression. This is possibly their most aggressive release since their debut, back in 1999.

If you have not heard Dope before, get out and get this album. It is a blast of metal from start to finish. I slipped this disk in expecting a good album, but what I got was much better than that. Guitar driven, this album is a heavy music fans dream. The sound is raw, immediate, demanding, once you hit play, there is no turning back.

The album opens with “I’m Back,” a loud rocking track announcing their presence, there is no denying they are here to stay. Continuing the drive towards destroying your ears and blowing your mind, it continues with “Survive” and “No Way Out.” It continues on to the charged “Sex Machine.” The pace changes a bit with “Let’s F**k,” where we get a dose of raw metal groove. That isn’t the only cut to exhibit that raw groove, there is also “I Wish I Was the President.” There really isn’t a weak song on this album.

In addition to 14 new tracks, Edsel and crew have also given us 3 bonus tracks. There is an alternate version of “Bitch,” which first appeared on Group Therapy, and a new version of “Burn” featuring the Detroit Hate Choir, also originally from Group Therapy. The final bonus track is a new studio version of “F**k tha Police,” the NWA track that Dope has made their own. It has become a huge part of their live show, and it is great to see them revisit it with the current lineup, it was originally an unlisted track on Felons and Revolutionaries.

The band has never been better, this is the first album featuring this lineup. Brix is the most recent addition, joining up as the bass player last year, he keeps the low end growling. Racci Shay is pounding the skins like only he can, he is one of the few drummers I have found entertaining to watch in the live arena, plus he is very good at keeping the beats tight and original. Guitars fall under the watchful eye of Virus, he is the backbone of their sound, heavy, incessant, gritty, without him, they would be a different band. Finally, we have the man without who there would not be Dope, that is Edsel Dope, the man with the unique voice who can sing just as he can scream, someone who is willing to experiment with the music. He is someone who believes in the music, someone who loves the music. You can hear it in his voice, and when you see them live, you can see it in their performance.

An underrated act that deserves to be a part of any true metal fans collection. This album heralds the start of a new era of touring, not that they ever stop, but now there is new material. They are on a new label, Artemis Records (which also had one of favorite non-metal artists, Warren Zevon), and are poised to conquer once again. I can’t recommend this enough.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like Dope when I first experienced their debut, but, like a fungus it grew on me. Then I saw them live, and listened to their sound develop, and man, have they gotten good. This album is a continuation of something special. Get, listen to it, love it, go see them live. You will not be disappointed.

Highly Recommended.

Track Listing
1. I’m Back
2. Survive
3. No Way Out
4. Always
5. Bastard
6. Sex Machine
7. Four More Years
8. Revolution
9. Let’s F**k
10. F**k The World
11. I Wish I Was the President
12. Dream
13. Life
14. People Are People
15. Bitch [Alternate Version] 16. F**k tha Police [2005 Studio Version] 17. Burn – Detroit Hate Choir

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