4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant debut that took 'crossover' metal to another level,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pain (Audio CD)
Dub War, in my opinion, were Britain's finest, most innovative and groundbreaking crossover metal exponents (see also contemporaries Senser, Pitchshifter; currently see Asian Dub Foundation). From Newport, South Wales they blended dub, reggae, soul, punk, thrash metal, and beats. You name it, they had it. Their brilliant debut, Pain, is not the shambles that one may expect from the fusion of such eclectic and extreme styles. Contemporary crossover metal amounts to no more than skate metal: crunching guitars and awkward rapping in bandanas and baggy shorts. It beggars belief that fusing different music styles can sound so sterile, one-dimensional and formulaic. But through a plethora of singles, EPs, and compilation album slots Dub War were able to hone their exciting style and socially and environmentally aware message; Pain shows a band in tip-top condition and straining at the leash. Respected is, for me, the standout track, and demonstrates best their social opinions, dealing as it does with race. Strike It, Gorrit, and Spiritual Warfare are other notable highpoints. The only criticism is that the titletrack is too drawn-out. When Newport was (lazily) heralded as the new Seattle, Dub war were largely ignored by hacks and labels focusing on bands that fitted in with the prevailing Britpop 'phenomenon', which is a shame because nobody who came from the town could touch Dub War. Their 'unlikely' hometown and diverse ethnic background harked back to early crossover metal bands such as Living Colour, early Faith No More, Rage Against The Machine and the high profile inter-genre collaborations such as Anthrax and Public Enemy. Unfortunately only the good die young and they are no more having fragmented into equally groundbreaking bands. If the sterility of crossover metal makes you yawn, try Pain and its follow-up The Wrong Side of Beautiful to re-imbue you with faith in innovative metal.