Drums of Death

Drums of Death

by DJ Spooky


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Drums of Death

Drums of Death is a collaboration between the relentlessly experimental hip-hop of DJ Spooky and drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Fantômas fame. Is this another experiment in metal/hip-hop fusion? Yes, and no. And as such, it works better than most. Lombardo is a heavy metal drummer without peer. His big kit work -- especially his on-the-edge cymbal work and furious tom-tom workouts -- lends a weight and urgency to Drums of Death that anchors it and pushes it further than the inept nu-metal chart acts that shall remain nameless here. Excess is something Spooky has never been afraid of. His records are full of it. Sure, when it doesn't work, it can be tiresome, but when it does, there is no one more utterly engaging. Spooky refuses to be reined in by what musical genres are "supposed" to sound like. Also on board for the project are Meat Beat Manifesto's Jack Dangers, Public Enemy's Chuck D (who raps on three radical remakes of tunes from his crew), and former Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid (who appears on about a third of the album's 16 tracks). The science fiction theme on the cover art of Drums of Death is not inconsistent with the suffocatingly paranoid, chaotic futurism that the album offers aurally. The Public Enemy tunes -- "Brother's Gonna Work It Out," "B-Side Wins Again," and "Public Enemy #1" -- work surprisingly well. Dangers' guitar work on "B-Side" is a fine counterweight to D's aggressive delivery, but it is Lombardo whose skittering and punched-up skin throb pushes the thing into the red. Spooky cuts up the breakbeats and an array of sonic washes give the track a new sense of currency. Rapper Dälek guests on "Assisted Suicide," and offers a nocturnal anarcho-political take on hip-hop culture as it collapses in on itself. Reid's freakout guitar drones interlaced with Spooky's loose and loopy turntablism threaded through Lombardo's chopped and spindled breakbeats are the entryway into something entirely new. It's been hinted at before by groups such as King Crimson and Buckethead with Les Claypool, but never with this kind of raw power thud. Reid's power chords and Dangers' bass pulse team wonderfully on "Metatron," as Spooky's alterna-beats and sound effects skew to dubwise extremes that Lombardo is only too happy to indulge with some mind-bending breaks. Drums of Death is far from easy listening, but it is compelling throughout -- never dull, never boring, never rote. It points to a ton of new possibilities in the way hip-hop, electronica, and heavy metal approach and engage with one another, without becoming mired in any of them.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/26/2005
Label: Thirsty Ear
UPC: 0700435716124
catalogNumber: 57161
Rank: 268512

Album Credits

Performance Credits

DJ Spooky   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Turntables
Meredith Monk   Vocals
Chuck D   Vocals,Rap
Dave Lombardo   Drums
Vernon Reid   Guitar
Jack Dangers   Bass,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Multi Instruments,Arp 2600
Dälek   Vocals
Gerry Nestler   Guitar

Technical Credits

Meat Beat Manifesto   Audio Production
Jack Dangers   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation,Management
DJ Spooky   Audio Production
Jimmy Burns   Illustrations
Paul D. Miller   Producer
Alex Artaud   Composer

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