Shock and awe. You might remember that one. It is a (very old) military strategy, last used prominently by the US in the latest Iraq war.
One that aims at shell-shocking the enemy into submission with a tremendous load of boom and bang. With the hope that the evil witch will lose her favorite broom AND her spells, forget to recover, and just give up the ghost. So that this contentious and ugly conquering business turns out to be much less difficult and costly than it would otherwise be.
Dirty Sound Magnet‘s last album Western Lies kind of felt precisely like that strategy. The band completely turned their former, comfortable Zep-infused style upside down. Into a pretty wild kaleidoscope of spacey sounds and melodies.
And that meant having Stavros Dzodzos at the microphone, sounding like a born-again rock version of a psychedelic Mike Rosenberg (Passenger) on highly potent steroids. Not to forget Marco Mottolini with his x-treme throaty bass voice and Maxime Cosandey acting like a djin on his drum kit. Truly, the genie was out of the bottle and nothing would be able to stuff it back in.
So, shock and awe alright, with poor RockmusicRaider sitting there with smoking headphones. A trve holy-rocky-cow moment if there ever was one the first time around.
Now DSM return with a vengeance with their newest record Transgenic, on a decidedly short 35 minutes of airplay. But it’s again a piece to behold, yet on a slightly different tack this time.
This horde continues to sail way outside your proverbial beaten path of molten rocks. And it’s for sure not some copycat from worn-out genres a gazillion other bands already tried before.
If anything, their distinct Psychedelic and Alternative Rock style truly matured over time. And the record does sound much less frazzled around the edges than its predecessor. I got that comforting, albeit frugal hint of flow this time, a felt consistency on style and theme. Which is one of the positive drivers Transgenic has to offer.
They did build that retro-sound back in, too. Not at all in the old Zep fashion, though. But more in the vein of the ’70s and early ’80s that was known for its share of dopey psychedelic bands. With a slight hint and flavor of the dreaded Sabbath-esque Ozzy whine at certain points.
And again, in line with our beloved old protest bands, Dirty Sound Magnet do surely not shy away from controversy. To become a believer, just head over to the clip of USA LSD BNB HIV (below) and tell me what you see.
But don’t get me wrong.
Whilst the band surely gets inspiration from the past, they firmly dwell in the present. For instance, Transgenic dedicates a pretty huge chunk of this decidedly short blurb to rant about current popular plagues like social media addiction. On a whopping three tracks, Social Media Girl, Social Media Boy, and Hashtag Love with its bluesy yet very short solo.
But let’s not forget the jewels neither. The epic Skull Drawing Rose neatly showcases what DSM can do. The RMR deck crew took an insane liking to its delicate complexity, the deliciously asynchronous chorus and – for sure – the delightful solo just after mid-point. Radio stations will definitely kill them if they were to request airtime. Because the length of the track is way beyond bit-size, and they hate that. But by Jove, this is excellent fare. And who cares about radio anyway when you can score brownie points with RockmusicRaider. Right?
Transgenic turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I truly enjoyed these still decidedly untamed, but much more mature forays onto Psychedelic and Alternate Rock territory. Now coming to this turntable with a definitely bluesy tinge for some of that.
So – gosh – if you like your rock strangely feral, unbroken, and way out there, then you definitely need to give DSM and their newest record a go. Oh, and put on your crash helmet whilst you’re at it, because this band truly likes it rough. Make no mistake, Transgenic will take you on a roller-coaster, so strap in tight and don’t take off that helmet. But – by all means – enjoy the ride nonetheless.
Ed’s note: The record successfully made it onto the 2019 Top 10 records. Congrats!
Get dat tune: