If you’re dire need of some sick dope this Sunday, The Annex is going to be the place to be. Sorry to all those jam-band hippies out there, watering at their mouths and searching for their bongs — this isn’t the type of stuff you might be thinking of.
On the other hand, if you’re a member of the Madison metal militia, you probably already know that this can only mean that Dope and Slaves on Dope will be making their stop at the closest hard-rock/metal stage on campus.
Since the release of its debut album Felons and Revolutionaries back in 1999, Dope has established itself as the most tangible industrial rock outfit this side of the Nine Inch Nails legion fortress.
By combining the nu-metal guitar ideologies of Korn with the solid dance beats and synthesizer dabblings of KMFDM, alongside the distorted, reaming vocals of Ministry, all encompassed under the banner of uncontrolled early Guns ‘n’ Roses hard rock, Dope has created for itself a bastard child of electronic metal possessing the perfect genetic code for unadulterated, full-throttle intensity.
The foundations of Dope arose in sunny Florida during the late ’90s as a do-it-yourself musical side-project of brothers Edsel and Simon Dope. Using cheap recording hardware and even worse drum machines, the Dope brothers created guitar, drum and vocal arrangements they felt would best complement the heavy nature of the music they sought to create.
After a relocation to New York and a recruitment of new musicians, including guitarist Tripp Eisen and bassist Acey Slade, Dope’s initial footprint on the hard-rock scene led to signing to Flip Records after only a few small shows. With the release of its debut album and opening slots for fellow industrial-metal acts Orgy and Fear Factory, Dope obtained the steady influx to its fanbase it so rightfully earned.
Impacting the airwaves with its between-the-eyes “Sick,” the Satanic remake of the ’80s hit “You Spin Me Round,” and gaining recognition in “The Fast and the Furious” with their anti-bourgeois metal opus “Debonaire,” Felons and Revolutionaries went on to offer a blueprint of what the post-industrial-metal scene should sound like.
With the loss of Eisen to Static-X and Slade to the Murderdolls, Simon and Edsel sought to use the new lineup of musicians for the recording of their sophomore release Life as a way to expand and evolve the raw sound present on their debut. The result stunned many music critics who held the perception and prejudice of modern metal as a monotonous music genre doomed to stagnation.
While the initial single “Now or Never” proved Dope does process a more personal side, the remainder of the album demonstrated Edsel and Simon could write from the heart just as well as from the adrenal cortex.
As Dope now enters round three of its career, the stakes have been raised and the self-expectations set even higher. With the release of Group Therapy, Dope has undergone another lineup change, including the departure of Simon and a lesser reliance on recorded, digital drum tracks due to the insane drumming skills of Racci Shay now behind the analog kit.
Wasting no time off the blocks with its new single “I Am,” Dope proves it isn’t afraid to return to its rebellious beginnings while combining the musical developments from Life and incorporating some new, over-the-top breakdowns.
This time around, Edsel and company are also not afraid to incorporate some industrial, sexual raunchiness àla Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie, with “Bitch” and its FCC-censor-heart-attack-inducing video.
Bringing the mosh pit to a boil with “Bring It On” and “Motivation” will almost seem too easy as Shay’s apocalyptic tribal drumming mayhem only throws more gasoline on the already-three-mile-radius wildfire summoned by the rest of the band of hell-raisers.
If State Street doesn’t burn down this weekend and you still feel a need to unleash some primal aggression, feel free to stop by the Annex Sunday as Slaves on Dope and Dope prepare to help you out with some tender, mosh-pit group therapy. Admitting you need help is the first step. Just leave the rest to Edsel and the boys.
Dope and Slaves on Dope play at The Annex, 1206 Regent St., this Sunday. Doors open at 7 p.m. and ages 18 and up are welcome. Tickets are $10 in advance and are available at all Annex ticket outlets.