Dublin Death Patrol - _DDP 4 Life_
(Godfodder Records, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (8 out of 10)
Awwwwwww shit! I just -knew- as soon as I saw the title _DDP 4 Life_ that this was gonna be a lame, ten-years-past-its-time stab at a bunch of old schoolers trying their hand at rap metal. So yeah... that wasn't a -good- awwwwww shit, but it don't much matter: Dublin Death Patrol is exactly the thrash all-star band you'd imagine them to be given a cursory look at their ridiculously deep roster: Chuck Billy (Testament) and Steve Souza (Exodus and, oh yeah, Legacy!) trading off on vox, along with Willy Lange (Laaz Rockit) on bass and Troy Lucketta (Tesla) beating the skins. Also on board are younger siblings are Andy (guitar) and Eddie Billy and John Souza (bass on the latter two). This is not counting the lesser known musicians fleshing out a tri-guitar / tri-bass / dual-drum ensemble. Machine Head / Vio-lence guitar slinger Phil Demmel was an original DDP member, but somehow got lost in the shuffle between the early gigs in Dublin, California and the finished recorded product.

With a line-up that thick -- DDP being a side project for all ten(!) members, mind you -- one would be forgiven for expecting a batch of thrown together jams with little to no coherence or artistic merit. To some degree, that would be a "yea" on the first assumption and an emphatic "nay" on the second. Yes, there is a certain slapdash nature to the affair that is _DDP 4 Life_, but the sheer level of talent involved ensures a certain tossed off, breezy effortlessness that translates into memorable tunes. Honestly, the biggest surprise was the inclusion of homeboy from Tesla, a great band that exists in a separate universe from the Bay Area thrash scene that spawned the rest of the band, but a good chunk of _DDP 4 Life_ is less concerned with speed than creating a solid bedrock of '70s r-n-r grooves... the kind that inspired the first wave of thrash and NWOBHM bands in the first place (hence the ace covers of Motorhead's "Iron Fist" and the truly stellar take on Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat", which Zetro in particular absolutely smokes on).

To follow up on the above parenthetical comment, I have to admit that as much as I love(d) Paul Baloff (RIP), I always had a soft spot for Steve "Zetro" Souza, and I chalk up the success of _Tempo of the Damned_ as possibly the greatest thrash metal comeback album ever to the singular charms of the almighty Souza. Of all the gremlin-voiced singers, only Bon Scott is in the man's league, and I include the likes of Brian Johnson, Steve Grimmett and Udo Dirkschneider in that assessment. Interestingly enough, Billy and Souza have chosen to position most of their duets with Zetro doing the high end shrieking and Billy holding down the low end bellowing. "Devil in Disguise" is a notable exception, a semi-acoustic ballad with bluesy guitar fills and Chuck turning in his best "Return to Serenity"-esque performance. The song ultimately ratchets up the intensity a bit as the solos kick in, but all in all this is quintessential Testament-style songwriting of the highest order, even if it does stand out as probably the least band-inclusive of the lot.

The most thrilling aspect of DDP is that this is not a band out to set any new precedents; even their song titles -- "RIP", "Mentally Unstable", "Trail to the Executioner", "Corruption" (-not- the Exodus song of the same name!) -- are unapologetically cliché in an almost atavistic sense. And while some of these tunes may come off as little more than better-than-average filler, there is a wealth of brand new classics on board -- such as "Unnatural Causes", a barnstormer with Billy and Souza outduelling each other in sheer venomous rage, and "Sid Vicious", a mid-tempo scorcher with a memorable chorus that appears to be about some fictional thrash uber-badass (i.e. Painkiller) rather than the well known, mortally-challenged punk rocker.

By the time you read this, the current DDP tour will be a thing of the past; but with enough attention we may yet get another round to the cranium, so fire up those broadband connections and hit up the DDP MySpace page and tell 'em CoC sent you!

Contact: http://www.dublindeathpatrol.com

(article published 7/4/2007)


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