One of many bands making a comeback in 2016 were Dope, announcing not only their first album in seven years but a run of dates featuring the original members. Hot off the back of five Russian dates, they headline the Academy in Islington tomorrow. The album – the much-delayed Blood Money Part 1 was released on October 28th.
The band have been classed as nu-metal, industrial and alternative and it’s the first two that really come through from beginning to end of this release. The excessive distortion on the solid guitar licks and the vocals really ramp up the metallic feel with keys adding the occasional foundry-esque screech in the background. Rhythms are simple and catchy, but each track layers so much musicianship together that the end product is anything but basic.
Title track “Blood Money” is a great number. The kind of rhythm that suits air-punching and a singalong chorus backed by a RATM-esque squeaky guitar bridge before the final salvo make this an instant, dark hit. Keys and samples add a John Carpenter feel to things so we have not so much a song as a soundtrack… and that’s just one track on the album!
Much more upbeat in terms of rhythm is “Hold On”, its hugely uplifting chorus just begging to be sung along to. Then we have “Numb” which is hugely keyboard-based, to the point where the vocals are at roughly the same place in the mix. A big song, and all the more effective for some creative production.
There are a couple of shorter “filler” tracks such as “X-Hale” and “Lexapro” which aren’t the sort of ones I’d return to. They’re scene-setters, atmospheric pieces that link other songs together. Not bad, but personally I just want to get on with the heavier stuff.
Overall Bloody Money Part 1 comes across as somewhat experimental. The tracks vary so much that it is hard to pinpoint a particular subset of fans who’ll enjoy it. On the other hand, the base “metal” of it should be enough to open doors to many listeners. This is one album I couldn’t just have on in the background. I needed to actually sit and listen to it before I reviewed it to appreciate the huge number of different sounds blended into it.