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DROPDEAD - Dropdead 2020 album review

Release date September 25, 2020 (Armegeddon Records)

Dropdead 2020 is Dropdead's third full length album in their 29 year history, and their first since 1998 (although they also have numerous EP/split/live/demo releases). This Rhode Island outfit may be sporting grey hair in their most recent photos, but they have definitely channeled the energy of their youth in this collection of hardcore punk aggression.

Comprised of original members Bob Otis (vocals), Ben Barnett (guitar) and Brian Mastrobuon (drums) and bassist George Radford (who joined in 2010), Dropdead are the kind of punk band that only the already initiated will love. With 23 songs clocking in at around 24 minutes or so (14 songs are under 1 minute), the listener barely has time to get into the groove of the song before it is over. When punk bands produce these very short songs, this reviewer wonders why they don't just repeat the song and make it a lengthy minute and half (honest guys, nobody will accuse you of being Yes if your songs are under 2 minutes!).

Not surprisingly, it seems the strongest songs are the ones that are a little longer and allow you to get a real feel for them. "Torches", "Flesh and Blood", and "The Future is Yours" in particular are standout tracks. The longest track on the album clocking in just shy of 3 minutes is "Book of Hate", another excellent track that is somewhat reminiscent of D.R.I., and one of the few songs that isn't 100 miles an hour the whole way through.

The production is interesting, in that it has the rough edge and wall-of-sound finish that all underground punk albums should have, but it is clear enough that the constituent elements are still discernible. Radford's thick, chugging bass in particular is a highlight, as are Otis' howling, snarling vocals.

After repeated listens it is still not clear if this will be forever a half-hour of raw punk to be consumed as a meal, or whether individual tracks will really start to identify themselves, as they do on truly classic albums. Only time will tell. If you love raw, noisy punk in the vein of Discharge, then this is a must for you.

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