Album Review – Dredg “The Parriah, the Parrot, the Delusion”

Another album I got my hands on last week was Dredg’s latest offering “The Parriah, the Parrot, the Delusion“.  Dredg have come a ways since their debut “Leitmotif” and I had the pleasure of discovering them back in 2003 in Toronto, opening a Snocore Tour that year with headliners Glassjaw and Sparta.  I had no idea who they were at the time but they thoroughly impressed me, despite the drummer beginning the show with an extended bathroom break (who knows what he was actually doing).

At that show they were touring “El Cielo“, possibly my favourite Dredg record to date, but this one comes close to that.  “The Parriah…” is a step forward from 2005’s “Catch Without Arms“, especially musically.  CWA had some great moments as well, but this record seems much more consistent.  Vocalist Gavin Hayes is as impressive as ever and I continue to admire his technique, however I feel he sometimes lacks lyrically.  Verses can come off too literal and only skin deep, and are composed, at times, more like a story book.  This happened, then this happened, then this happened, etc.  But this is not necessarily a bad thing, however I think I prefer lyrics not to be like that in general.  I like how provacative some verses are, coming off more controversially, this is a good thing. A few songs deal with the struggle between Religiousness and Atheism (which could also be considered a religion by some), apparently inspired by the Salmon Rushdie essay “Imagine There’s No Heaven” (Didn’t Lennon already do this?), and this adds to the controversy.

Musically, the album is very strong.  Drummer Dino Campanella keeps getting stronger and stronger with every release and this is no exception.   He is on top form and I feel he is one of the best drummers in Rock today.  The band is evolving with every song and there’s almost nothing to complain about in my opinion.  Some highlights include the opener “Parriah” which is up beat and continues the Dredg song tradition established on CWA.  The albums lead single is “Information”, and I think this is where some of my complaints about the lyrics are rooted.  It’s a catchy song and it continues to grow on me, but some of the verses irk me a little bit.  I think I just need a little less information 😉 Other strong tracks include, “I Don’t Know” and possibly my favourite track, “Saviour”.  Very strong song.  It’s heavy and in your face, melodic and super catchy.

Overall the record is solid.  I contains quite a number of tracks and clocks in at about 60 minutes, which feels like just the right length without overdoing anything. “The Parriah, The Parrot, The Delusion” is definitely worth a listen for anyone just discovering this band.  For the rest of you already in the loop, you shouldn’t be disappointed with this record.  I feel it continues the Dredg legacy that they have been establishing on “El Cielo” and “Catch Without Arms“.



Album Review – the Devin Townsend Project “Ki”

Much to my surprise, I was able to get my grubby little hands on Devin Townsend’s latest offering Ki a week early. I was debating even putting it on out of a notion that listening to an album leak early is basically like blowing your wad prematurely while fucking, but I digress. Submitting to my carnal urges can be quite healthy when done properly, and sometimes quick masturbation is adequate enough, although I’m usually one to hold and build before releasing all of that pent up energy, but again I digress. I’m currently on my 4th consecutive listen.

I knew going into this that the album would be a departure from anything Devin has done in the past. I was anticipating something along the lines of 2001’s Terria, mixed with a little Hummer/Devlab and some additional flavour styles mixed in, and that’s basically what this album is. He’s got a new line-up with him, with the exception of long-time Keyboardist Dave Young. The band is decidedly older than Devin himself, and it seems he was seeking individuals with significant musical maturity, players that could harness the delicate balance of sounds and perform significant dynamic shifts masterfully. This album accomplishes that feat. The record on a whole is largely experimental, and seems very relaxed, but we’re not talking about one of Devin’s ambient offerings here. This album has a distinct Progressive Rock and Metal feel to it at times, the songs ebb and flow, going from almost Pink Floydian passages to technical, progressive sections (albeit usually with clean guitar tones). I’m detecting a hint of Mark Knopfler influence as well, and Devin may have even have spun a few Elvis Presley records in his downtime over the last 6 months. Who knows?

I’m continuing to enjoy the album, with every listen I discover new, seemingly hidding sounds. It creates a very plush soundscape, and lyrically seems to describe a very serene, naturalistic environment, and experiences that quiet the mind and allow it to enter into healing, contemplative thought processes. I really enjoy the presence of the female vocalist on some tracks, Ché Dorval, whom has left a significant impression on the record. Her voice is very fitting and soothing and complements Devin’s tone nicely. It’s definitely a freely experimental album, with Devin not having to answer to any major label representative like so many artists do. He is free to do as he wishes with his music, and this is only the first part of a 4 part concept that he is developing, all to be released in 2009. I’ve ordered my copy of Ki on HevyDevy’s eBay store and I urge any fan to do the same and own a great piece of music, even for the casual listener, those not necessarily interested in Metal can enjoy this record. There are significant blues influences, and delicate ambient sections to enjoy. Very calming, a beautiful record.

4/5 stars


Cornell decides to Rock again

Just came across the new video for “Long Gone” from Chris Cornell’s latest album Scream, but the version of the song has been re-done with Howard Benson manning the production boards vs. Timbaland’s version which appears on the album. It marks a return to form ala his first two solo albums which older fans should enjoy.

Chris Cornell – Long Gone (Howard Benson Version)