D.R.I. – Definition

Here’s one of those albums you get when a band that did some essential work early in its career never really burnt out and just kept going to no one’s benefit.  ‘Definition’ is an album that really no one at all cares about; it’s just sort of there and I guess the fact that it’s a D.R.I. album is supposed to carry it despite how little interesting material there is on it.  Yes, it’s an album by an essential thrash band, but it’s not an essential album, so who really gives a shit?  It doesn’t try very hard so I don’t see why I should have to try and meet it more than halfway when it can’t get off the metaphorical couch to actually impress me.

On one level it’s kind of funny because it’s a pretty perfect example of what happens when punks get old and the anger they expressed so simply and effectively starts getting weird because of a lack of original material.  Either it ends up getting really weirdly specific (‘Acid Rain’), feels dumb because they haven’t progressed (‘Dry Heaves’), or is really vague with the general idea being that they’re angry but it’s more indicitive of an anger management problem than any real problem with society (pretty much every other track).  The music is pretty similarly unfocused; they’re thrash songs with no momentum and I don’t get any particular feeling of aggression from this music.  It genuinely feels like the guys said “Well, I guess it’s time to do another album” and cranked this out in the space of a couple weeks.

So the lyrics are bizarre and dumb and the music is lifeless and shuffling.  Let’s top it off with a remarkably dry and dull production job which strips the instruments and vocals of whatever natural intensity they might have possessed in the interest of a marginally cleaner sound.  Hilariously it seems to have the opposite effect: taking all the power and abrasiveness away from the instruments just leaves them together in a big, gelatinous ball, like a casserole that’s been sitting on the stove for a week and a half straight.  It’s gooey and you can sort of tell that it’s food but it never manages to actually come together into anything more than a collection of more or less logical noises.  It sounds like what a computer would make if you programmed it to write a thrash album.

Yeah so ‘Dealing With It’ was pretty sweet and all but this is some remarkably lame music from one of the biggest names in the crossover scene.  It seems that one of the crucial elements of punk and punk-related music is to sound like you actually care about what you’re saying, which is right about where this album fails because it HAS nothing to say.  It’s just an album full of superficial observances and superficial music, so really, why would anyone want to listen to this?  It’s just there, disposable and not even dignified enough to be ashamed by that.

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~ by noktorn on August 28, 2008.

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