To Dub or Not to Dub
With each album, New York-based Dub Trio stray further and further from the musical genre identified in their name. On their latest, IV, these accomplished musicians flex their power-metal muscle with 40 minutes of “instru-metal” compositions accented by effects and rare dub-istry instead of reggae-beat DJ-loop numbers.
Guitarist D.P. Holmes, bassist Stuart Brooks, and drummer Joe Tombino work individually as session players by day, having recorded with the likes of The Fugees, Common, and Macy Gray. Together they craft sludgy doom-metal numbers. Each tune on IV contains little surprises—a quick stutter here, a split-second of utter silence there—to remind you that the band are more than three guys playing instruments.
The album begins with “En Passant,” which starts as a canon but changes into a Fugazi-like bass/drum pedestal, each measure with its own colorful electronically enhanced bit thrown in. The end of “Swarm” sounds like something inspired by Louder than Love-era Soundgarden. When we reach the fifth number, the metal edge is given a rest in synth-driven “Ends Justify the Means.”
After that, IV gets more varied. “Words” is a brief Sabbath-y interlude. “1:1:618” arranges different sound effects into a slow beat. The album ends with the 9-plus-minute “Thousand Island Stare,” which brings all of these elements together. Fans of dub will either praise the Trio’s ingenuity or blaspheme them for straying so far. Fans of Dub Trio already get it, and will no doubt enjoy IV as a suitable successor to 2008’s Another Sound is Dying.