A Review of the Album "Thrash Zone" by American Crossover Thrash Band D.r.i.
A Musician In Austin, Texas
About the Band D.R.I. & the Album Called Thrash Zone
D.R.I. short for the band called Dirty Rotten Imbeciles is an American crossover thrash band that I've really only heard of in the last two years or so. They have a 1989 studio album called Thrash Zone. It can be hard to be appreciative of the American metal scene sometimes because it has gone through a certain evolution or change but it is said that change is always a constant thing right? D.R.I. Formed in Houston, Texas back in 1982 and they relocated to San Francisco later. They are considered to be “the fathers of crossover thrash” along with the band Suicidal Tendencies. At this point in my music listening life, I know that I would prefer to listen to these guys over the band with one of the dumbest names in the history of music.
The Major Advantages to the Album Thrash Zone
There are quite a few solid advantages to the album Thrash Zone. They are:
1. The aggressive vocals
2. The bass lines. Note: I think that even Iron Maiden's Steve Harris would be proud of the bass guitars in this album if he heard it.
3. The drums for 1989 standards
4. No profanity laced lyrical content for the most part
Vocalist Kurt Brecht sounds somewhat like Mike Muir (at least I notice this). There are times when the bass guitar work is loud that anyone can hear it and one example of this in the song called You Say I'm Scum. Wow! Listening to this album makes me impressed because of the guitar work which also has a sort of punk style influence but it feels like a heavy hardcore metal album. The drums are even decent for a 1989 album. One positive about D.R.I. in comparison to Mike Muir and his band is that this album isn't filled with profanity and for some fans of the genre this is a welcome relief. They can listen to the music and appreciate it without being turned off. The other noticeable quality about this album Thrash Zone is that it is a very hard-hitting and heavy album for a crossover thrash metal band and the attitude is in the vocals especially.
One Interesting Observation About the Bass Guitar in Thrash Zone
The bass work sounds like the band Acid Reign. Acid Reign is a British thrash metal band that was formed in 1985 and their style is similar to this with a touch of more melody and not as aggressive vocals.
"The Trade" Song Review & Analysis
“The Trade” is a song that lyrically offers us advice that we could use. We could do things to stay healthy such as working out as the song says. Of course there is also a reference to sex as the words “get laid” are uttered. The song also describes a situation where there is a musician that has to sleep near the freeways in between gigs because he is struggling financially.
Thrash Zone Songs 1-5
With all the advantages to the album Thrash Zone discussed, let's get to discussing more of the songs. The album opens up with the nice groove filled song "Thrashard" and lyrically this song is about some of the actions that typically occur in heavy metal concerts as people head bang to the music and try to have a great time. The more I listen to this first song, I get the sense that these vocals are also similar to vocalist Howard Smith of the band Acid Reign. You can hear sounds of the audience cheering as well as the bass lines making their first audible sound and this is noticeable as well. Beneath the Wheel is a song that has the message of doing what you can to come out on top in real life. School is like a job but the student does not get paid for his or her academic efforts. Texas has been a part of the United States more famous for thrash metal but D.R.I. makes their presence known with this album which definitely is thrash metal in style even if they are considered a crossover band. “Enemy Within” lyrically is a song about someone that is asking his parents to help him save himself from this life that he leads. He is suffering from pain and agony and he wants it to all end. “Strategy” is a song that has some weird bass guitar sounds and that's something you don't always hear in the thrash metal genre. Even so, it turns into a pretty good punk style thrash metal song. Lyrically, Thrash Zone also deals with concepts that are very much a part of human life. Examples of the themes addressed in this album include the anxiety and troubles that young people go through, the pressure to be the best and the proper health habits and so much more. "Labeled Uncurable” is a song that lyrically describes a situation in which someone has gotten so weak and sick that they have lost their pride. There are some good harmony vocals in this song.
Are There Any Cons ot the Album Thrash Zone?
Even so, Thrash Zone is not a perfect album. Even though the album is 48 minutes long, sometime it feels like it is longer than that as the constant harsh vocals and heavy guitars continue like a hammer pounding into nails.
Thrash Zone Review Continued
Gun Control is a song that with its lyrics brings awareness to the fact that United States needs to have gun control as the assault weapons that are weapons of war continue to kill and maim many across the country. Gun Control is an issue that has been debated by the US Congress for years but there still continues to be major issues with the problems caused by guns. This band is a talented group of guys and I like the bass guitar work and the drums as was mentioned earlier but still, European bands still have the edge over US thrash metal bands. Kill the Words is a song that is lyrically about putting on limits on the freedom of the press. These limitations though are typically in countries with repressive regimes such as North Korea. Thrash Zone is overall quite a good crossover thrash metal album and beats anything released by Mike Muir and the band Suicidal Tendencies. The strongest songs are several including the first two songs and “The Trade.” Standing in Line is a song about what happens when a person faces so much food insecurity, they lose everything and they basically become homeless. Worker Bee being only 56 seconds long is about the unfair work conditions in factories as the employee is expendable and can be fired at any time. Thrash Zone gets a total of 85 points out of 100 for a still very solid score.
Final Thoughts About the Album Thrash Zone
Thrash Zone is good crossover thrash but after a long period of time, the album can get hard to handle because of the aggressive nature of it and you feel like wanting to listen to music that is softer. Even for 1989 standards, D.R.I. and Thrash Zone is good as the United States for a while was one of the top nations of the world for crossover thrash metal. The reason why Thrash Zone does not get a score in the 90s or a 100 points out of 100 is because it is lacking that extra creative juice that some other bands have.
Rate the Album Thrash Zone by D.R.I.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Ara Vahanian