D.R.I. began life as a punk band and gradually became heavier and thrashier with each new CD. The genre "crossover" was coined from a 1987 release, which basically sums up the sound of the thrash metal/punk-hardcore hybrid.


Dealing With It D.R.I. - Dealing With It (Rotten Records) 1985

1. Snap (1:10)
2. I'd Rather Be Sleeping (1:12)
3. Marriage (:53)
4. Yes Ma'am (1:56)
5. Soup Kitchen (2:02)
6. Mad Man (1:40)
7. Stupid, Stupid War (:26)
8. Counter Attack (1:02)
9. Couch Slouch (1:26)
10. God Is Broke (1:07)
11. Karma (2:16)
12. Nursing Home Blues (3:50)
13. I Don't Need Society (1:36)
14. Give My Taxes Back (:56)
15. The Explorer (1:36)
16. Reagonomics (:46)
17. How to Act (1:10)
18. Shame" (1:09)
19. Argument Then War (3:23)
20. Evil Minds (:55)
21. Slit My Wrist (:30)
22. Busted Again (:54)
23. Equal People (:51)
24. On My Way Home (1:00)
25. Bail Out (:44)

Dealing With It! is the second studio album by American band D.R.I.. While D.R.I are mostly known as a crossover thrash band, their first two records were more punk than anything heavy metal. As a matter of fact, "Dealing With It!" is full of politically fueled, humor filled, youth driven, fast, loud, angry, harsh, raucous, aggressive punk. Speed-infused songs like "Yes Ma'am", "Mad Man" and "Couch Slouch" fits nicely along side the the slightly more metallic "Karma" and "Nursing Home Blues". Both songs are a look into the more metallic future of the band. "Nursing Home Blues" is one of the longer songs on the album clocking in at just under four minutes. Many of the songs are under a minute and are just short spurts of rage, such as "Reaganomics", "Slit My Wrist", "Busted Again" and "Marriage". "I'd Rather Be Sleeping" is about as catchy as any punk rock gets and a song that is forever engrained in my memory. Same holds true for the religious greed rant, "God is Broke". "Dealing With It" sits with the first Suicidal Tendencies album as a genre defining album and a true classic.

Powergod recorded a cover of "I'd Rather Be Sleeping". Deceased recorded a cover of "Mad Man".

Crossover D.R.I. - Crossover (Rotten Records) 1987

1.   The Five Year Plan (4:03)
2.   Tear it Down (3:37)
3.   A Coffin (:58)
4.   Probation (4:03)
5.   I.D.K.Y. (1:28)
6.   Decisions (5:27)
7.   Hooked (2:43)
8.   Go Die! (3:42)
9.   Redline (3:05)
10. No Religion (2:59)
11. Fun and Games (2:13)
12. Oblivion (5:21)
embroidered patch

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles were a punk rock band from California. When I was in college my roommate had the Dirty Rotten LP, which sported a black and white cover and the phrase "22 Songs" emblazon on the front. That's easy to do when your songs are all about a minute long. The follow-up "Dealing With It" featured as many, or more, songs and was pure punk rock. When my roommate purchased "Crossover" in 1987 and spun it, we were all a bit taken back. The shiny 'metal' logo on the front cover and the title "Crossover" were indications of what direction the band was taken. D.R.I. were recording a heavy metal album. Though there is still plenty of punk influences, the band were clearly headed into a more thrash metal direction. In the 80's, the term 'crossover' was for bands that were going more mainstream. As I recall, it wasn't really a flattering term or a badge of honor, but generally meant 'sellout'. With D.R.I.'s "Crossover" album, the term 'crossover' became a genre description. Thus, D.R.I. are historically the fathers of crossover thrash, along with Suicidal Tendencies, S.O.D. and a handful of others.

Thrash metal is a fairly broad term. There are the bands that fall closer to NWOBHM style thrash such as early Metallica, then there is the more technical with intricate arrangements and proficient guitar solos like Watchtower and Testament. There was also the thrash bands that were closer to death metal such as Kreator and Sepultura. D.R.I.'s sound wasn't really as tight and intricate as most of these styles. The sound is still sloppy punk, but with a more metallic sheen. It's a mixture of high-speed punk riffage and crunchy heavy metal riffs. The opening moments of "Five Year Plan" are pure metal, while "A Coffin" isn't all that different from the material on "Dealing With It". "Tear it Down" and "Hooked" are good examples of the new metal attitude as well. Vocalist Kurt Brecht still sings in that shouted, hyper punk style despite the more metallic music backing him up. So, it's punk. It's metal. It's "Crossover".

Originally released in 1987 on Metal Blade Records, my CD copy was released in 1994 on the band's own Rotten Records. My copy is autographed by vocalist Kurt Brecht. (Thanks Jeremy)

Thrash Zone D.R.I. - Thrash Zone (Metal Blade) 1989

1. "Thrashard" (3:40)
2. "Beneath The Wheel" (5:36)
3. "Enemy Within" (2:44)
4. "Strategy" (4:19)
5. "Labeled Uncurable" (3:04)
6. "You Say I'm Scum" (1:55)
7. "Gun Control" (4:59)
8. "Kill The Words" (4:43)
9. "Drown You Out" (2:31)
10. "The Trade" (4:28)
11. "Standing In Line" (1:35)
12. "Give A Hoot" (3:55)
13. "Worker Bee" (:56)
14. "Abduction" (4:04)

The title of this disc really speaks volumes about the sound. Similar to the band's "Crossover" album, "Thrash Zone" is a combination of thrash riffing and punk attitude. Some of the songs are a bit longer than in the past, but there is not mistaking this band's roots. The punk influence comes through loud and clear. Short songs like "You Say I'm Scum" easily could have been on the first Suicidal Tendencies, or even on the band's "Dirty Rotten LP" and no one would have blinked. However, the majority of the material here is thrash metal. "Thrash Zone" has thepunk attitude, the heavy riffs of thrash metal and all the energy and speed of those genres mixed together. "Thrashard", "Beneath the Wheel" and "Gun Control" are all standout cuts. Lyric issues on this album range from societal issues to personal conflicts.


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