Dope Stars, Inc. – Ultrawired (2011)

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Music

Most bands have a moment in their career that is defined as their “breakthrough” – that one album that takes them from underground, cult, or unheard-of status and throws them smack-dab in to the spotlight. For the past eight years, Italy’s Dope Stars, Inc. have been searching for that moment. While establishing a decent following during that time, and creeping ever closer to the mainstream with songs appearing on three of the SAW soundtracks, the time has finally come for these industrial rockers to get the attention they deserve. After all, the band has done nothing but work their collective asses off, releasing 3 full-length albums, several EPs, and mixing track after track for other industrial acts along the way.

Ultrawired – released digitally May 30th – is the band’s fourth full length collection, and stomps it’s foot down louder than ever before. You get a sense these guys are angry – or at least fed up – with the current state of music. So what’s the best way to shut down the modern music corporation as we know it? By recording an album that lays it all to waste. We all know that industrial music isn’t exactly the genre of choice for breaking down the walls modern radio has put up all around us, but by following the footsteps of techno/alternative pioneers KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, as well as glam rock leaders Hanoi Rocks and Guns n’ Roses, Dope Stars, Inc. have formed themselves an eclectic sound that just might have the balls and swagger to pull it off.

That eclectic sound is a combination of all things good about modern rock/metal. Fast guitars, frenetic drums, distinguishable vocals, and the cyber-synthetic sound of keyboards that take you to hell and back track after track. You might think that it’s not exactly “radio friendly,” but you couldn’t be more wrong. There is such a strange level of accessibility to this album that I can’t even begin to explain. No one thought Linkin Park, or AC/DC, or Nirvana were radio friendly either, and look at what happened to them. Are Dope Stars, Inc. the next band that makes everyone forget the rules and actually appreciate a band for what they bring to the table? Why the hell not.

If the “stars” don’t align, and this doesn’t happen, it sure as shit isn’t for lack of trying. The songwriting on Ultrawired is flawless. Every song (of which I’ll spare you the track-by-track review) is meticulously crafted to near perfection. With only three current members in the band – Darin Yevonde (bass), Fabrice La Nuit (guitar), and founding member Victor Love (vocals, synth, guitar, drum programming, producer) – it is obvious that the band relies heavily on technology to produce their sound (which is enhanced live by touring members Ash Rexy on keyboards and Mark Mad’Honey on drums). What puts them above the rest, however, is the human feel they give today’s modern technical wares. Love has a knack for creating such a heavy, impenetrable sound, yet somehow having it come across as personal. At times, it’s as hard as Ministry – yet on other occasions it feels as dreamy and smooth as Jane’s Addiction ballad. It’s a little cutting edge, of course, but after one time through the album you immediately wonder why you haven’t been listening to this stuff all your life.

This album has another interesting angle, in that rather than releasing it commercially, the band have decided to drop their record labels for this release and give it away as a free download. In fact, they even promoted their album on the music industry’s biggest thorn-in-the-side – the piratebay.org – one of the internet’s biggest P2P illegal album leak providers. I have a feeling they were getting a little tired of the whole “record label” scenario. After all, their label(s) have really done nothing to promote them over the years, and the major labels continue to choke us with absolutely terrible artists. To cover expenses, the band hopes to get donations from listeners and, if nothing else, have fans buy a ticket to see them live. I think this approach is innovative, and while they aren’t the first band to try such a strategy (Radiohead had a similar deal last year), I think they will attract a much wider audience by giving the appropriate “fuck you” to the record label higher-ups. More information about the strategy, and links to the band-hosted free download, visit the band’s official website here .

It might not make Lady GaGa disappear. It might not expose Justin Bieber as the fraud he is. It might not make Britney Spears go back in hiding. But in a new world order that is fast approaching, the sounds of Dope Stars, Inc. would be a fitting soundtrack to the revolution. A revolution The Nutwork will gladly stomp its feet to.

9/10

Tracklist:
01 – Better Not To Joke
02 – Save The Clock Tower
03 – Cracking The Power
04 – Banksters
05 – Lies Irae
06 – Blackout
07 – Get Young
08 – No Life Belongs To You
09 – Two Dimensional World
10 – Run Motherfucker Run
11 – Pwning The Network
12 – We Are The New Ones
13 – Riding Ufos
14 – Thru The Never

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link

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