Let me be right up front with you about two things. The first is that I really don’t know what “dub” means in relation to music, although I do know it is something more than just a part of the band’s name. The second thing is that without even knowing what it is, I cannot say that dub music is my thing. Of course, my limited experience suggests that it is most commonly used in relation to reggae, rap, and house music, none of which are really in my wheelhouse. By now I am sure you are wondering just why in the world would I purposefully write about Dub Trio if it is something you know so little about? Here is the interesting thing: Dub Trio came to me under the guise of experimental metal.
Well, I got my hands on Dub Trio’s fourth album, with the clever title of IV, and attempted to prepare myself for the experience. I did do a tiny bit of research as my experience began. I learned that Mike Patton is a fan of the band and that Dub Trio served as his band for his Peeping Tom tour and also that they served as the live band for Matisyahu. This took them on a two and a half year touring cycle that saw them also support their last album as well as do the majority of the writing for IV.
I also took a look at what “dub” means in the musical sense, and the basis seems to be more concept than style. It takes music and breaks it down, reconstructing it into something else, often with enhanced drum and bass elements and the use of electronics. This lends itself to more than just the styles with which it is most often associated.
So, as it stands, Dub Trio is a pretty interesting and original flavor for the hard rock and heavy metal set. The sound is more than just an industrializing of what we know; there seems to be more of a post production element at play. Rather than just add the electronic elements along with the rest of the instruments, along the lines of, say, Mushroomhead, a chunk of the manipulation takes place in post production after the guitar/bass/drum tracks are finished. It is then that creativity takes to another level.
I like this. It is not your traditional metal, and while I cannot say I love it, there is something rather attractive to it. It brings new sounds into the mix. Their metal is quite traditional, not bad, but not where their true creativity lies. Their ability to mash it up, flip it, fold it in on itself, and use all manner of other sounds to do it makes this sound pretty fresh.
IV is an interesting mix of metal tracks that have had a little work done on them, interspersed with more true dub-style tracks. You have the modified headbangers like “Noise,” “Swarm,” and “Patient Zero” butting up against the likes of “En Passant,” “Ends Justify the Means,” and “1.1.:618.” there is a battle going on between these two with the end result being the 9-plus minute “Thousand Mile Stare,” where everything seems to be coming together.
Dub Trio is an intriguing band. I cannot say they are going on the all time list, but I do like a good portion of what they bring to the table. I may find some of the electronics annoying; seriously some of “En Passant” was just seriously annoying. However, the centerpiece “Ends Justify the Means” is oddly engrossing despite its odd rhythmic progressions. Overall, it is a keeper and recommended for the curious looking for something a little bit different.