Last of a Dying Breed
(New Art School/No Dice Records)
Back in July 2005, I reviewed this record for the print edition of this publication. Although I normally try to follow a rule of thumb pertaining to time passed for my "Blast From the Past" re-reviews, I've chosen to look again into DNME's album for personal and sentimental reasons. Their drummer, whom you might remember from the Elbo Room and the Vagabond, Alex Del Bueno, was a close friend and colleague who sadly passed away two years ago this past month. Not a day goes by that I do not think of or recall the times I spent with him. I miss him dearly.
Looking at the history of hardcore, it's easily discernible that this extreme genre of punk rock lives in cycles. From the late '70s/early-'80s DC scene to the UK82 and D-beat movements to the CBGB's Sunday matinees to the late-'80s emergence of Krishna consciousness and militant vegan attitudes to the pockets of chaka-chaka riffage that existed in the shadows of grunge to post-hardcore to the short-lived power violence/thrash scene, hardcore comes and goes, and for some bizarre reason, South Florida's always been at the forefront of every incarnation.
Blame it on the water if you want. This humble peninsula has produced some of the craziest and most oft-imitated hardcore acts. For Minor Threat, we checked back with Roach Motel; for Black Flag, we had the Gay Cowboys in Bondage; for Gorilla Biscuits, we gave Powerhouse and FWA; for the Melvins, we hacked back with Floor; for Neurosis, we upped the ante with Cavity; for whatever outfit out west monikered themselves with a sentence-long name, we chucked Poison the Well at them.
And the list goes on and on that I'll play the pretentious asshole now and rattle off a short list of greats: Chocolate Grasshopper, Shai Hulud, Bird of Ill Omen, Timescape Zero, Asshole Parade, Out of Spite, Black Cobra, Ansojuan, Palatka, No Comply, End of the Century Party, Combat Wounded Veteran, Brethren, Assück, and so many more.
By the turn of the century, it was time for yet another cycling. This time, hardcore and hardcore acts sought to redefine themselves to the earlier stages of the genre. Call it HC primitivism. Gone was the distinction between the thuggish and more punk-driven acts; in the pit, we were all the same, and our local bands were heroes. This was the era of our very own Trust No One, Anger, and DNME.
Forged from members of Out of Spite, Brethren, and NYC's District 9 and VietNom, DNME offered nothing short of sheer brutality live and on record. Although many notable members of South Florida's music scene participated in incarnations of the band [Bundy (Mehkago N.T.), Joe Shed (Milkshed), Eric Rice (Zero Tolerance/H20), Edwin and Javier Gusano)], the four guys on this album do right by their brothers and the fans.
Harold and Sapo trade off guitar assaults and vocals: break-neck, heavy, on the verge of self-immolation and explosion. The rhythm section was handled by the Del Bueno brothers, Alex on drums and Julian on bass; as precise as you'd expect from persons in complete comfort of each other. I can't stress enough what a tight rhythm section this was, and I'm not saying it out of friendly association; these guys are the real deal on this recording, for I see this artifact as a living extension of my departed friend.
In deference to this album still being relatively new, I will not do a track-by-track breakdown but will point out some key songs. "Psycho Violent Destruct Beatdown" showcases the hip-hop skills of G.I. Flow and puts to shame everything nü-metal ever portended to be. Adel 156 of Timescape Zero fame leads the way on "No Control" while the revered John Joseph of Cro-Mags fame is featured on the title track. Need I say more?
This is a solid record from beginning to end. No filler, all killer. Find it and add it to your CD shelf, then sit back and watch the pretenders scatter away like roaches in a suddenly lit room. To those who soldier on, creating music, thank you. To Alex, wherever you might be, buddy, I hope you've got a nice Crown Royal on ice and are sipping it slowly. I miss you.