For those you who have been sitting under a rock, Dublin Death Patrol is a collaborative side project led by Testament vocalist Chuck Billy and his predecessor Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza (he was the singer in Legacy, the original version of aforesaid thrash legends, before going on to make his name in Exodus for those who need a history lesson), which takes it names from the fact that they are all death metal musicians who patrol the streets of the Californian town of Dublin… among the other luminaries involved in the project are Rampage/Laaz Rockit bassist Willy Lange and assorted other members, current or otherwise of the likes of Vio-lence – and even Tesla!
With a revolving door of up to a dozen members – the actual band is made up of a hardcore of seven musicians, including several of Chuck Billy’s fraternal as opposed to metallic brothers – DDP recorded their debut offering, ‘DDP4Life’ back in 2005: given the commitments of the other main players, it is perhaps understandable that it has taken seven years for the sophomore follow up to see the light of day….
Now, one problem I have with side projects is that they either sound so far removed from the more recognizable mainstay as to be unrecognizable (if you see what I mean)…or they’re so close to the original to be a virtual clone, thus begging the question of “why bother?”. And there certainly are moments of that here: given that ‘Death Sentence’ was conceived and recorded last year, there are quite a few instances – such as the second half of ‘Mind Sewn Shut’, the whole of ‘Blood Sirens’ or the main riff and chorus to ‘Welcome To Hell’ – which sound like they could have started out as demos for Testament’s latest ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’ offering, and so beg the question as to how many tracks are actually rejects from those initial sessions…
But, then, there are more than enough moments which are so polarly opposite as to give this project it’s own very distinct, and brutal, self-identity. ‘Dehumanize’, for example, is suitably industrial in its beatdown, while ‘Broken’ really brings out the snarling aggression of Souza’s vocal style – which contrasts so well with Billy’s deeper, huskier delivery to bring a dimension to each track that neither singer could have done on their own.
If you’re looking for good old-fashioned classic death metal punishments brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century, look no further than the unholy triumvirate of ‘Welcome To Hell’, ‘Conquer And Divide’ and the deadly destruction of ‘Death Toll Rising’. ‘My Riot’ is just that – an anarchic, joyful tribute to the heady days of the Bay Area movement. The album closes with the pairing of the gloriously retro ‘banging fury of ‘Macabre Candor’ (with its hilarious “remember to dismember” chorus line) and the typically punky OTT old-school DM/thrash workout of ‘Butcher Baby’.
To be honest, it does take a couple of listens to really get into the DDP vibe, but it is definitely worth exploring, and ultimately it is a more than worthy addition to the extremely impressive canon of work from two of extreme metal’s more accomplished frontmen.[8.5/10]
1. Mind Sewn Shut
3. Blood Sirens
5. Welcome To Hell
6. Conquer And Divide
7. Death Toll Rising
8. My Riot
9. Macabre Candor
10. Butcher Baby
‘Death Sentence’s is out now on Mascot Records and can bought here: