The Show: Wednesday, March 31, 2005
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Not “bad”: Dirt Merchant’s new c.d. is a hardcore interpretation of grunge.
PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Dirt Merchant

By Anthony Mariani

Dirt Merchant is a veteran metal trio that whips up crusty hardcore laced with radio-friendly alt-rock, specifically grunge. Bad News Travels Fast, their recent full-length, is a strong collection of a baker’s dozen songs, some stronger than others but all fully realized.
The best thing about Bad News is that — contrary to popular practice — the Merchants manage to arrange the simple building blocks of guitar, bass, drums into different shapes with every tune; here’s a band that doesn’t recycle the same tropes and tempos song after song. Some numbers fracture into disparate parts, while other tracks lumber along in monochromatic steps. Everything still maintains what we may call the Dirt Merchant sound — a mix of inventive rhythms, riffage that calls to mind Soundgarden’s penchant for filtering old Black Sabbath through progressive rock, and angst-filled lyrics.
Illuminating moments pop up throughout. “Never Do It Again” comes on like your average hardcore track until the chorus, a simple figure of guitar and vocal melody given dramatic heft by a certain melancholy. The pseudo-psychedelic jamfest near the end of “Marsupial” comes out of left field but is a welcome excursion. Ditto those parts of songs in which frontman Kevin Bradford stops shouting for a moment to actually sing; he’s got that whole off-but-really-not-off-key Layne Staley thing going on.
The band is celebrating the release of Bad News Travels Fast this weekend. — Anthony Mariani

Sat with Neverset and Unmarked at the Aardvark, 2905 W Berry St, FW. 817-926-7814.


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