"Brass Tactics"

By Dr. Abner Mality

What the blue blazing hell is THIS?!? Out of nowhere comes this bizarre little EP, which rips my face off in a way it's never quite been ripped before and pretty much rousing me from a dead-eyed slumber induced by typical bands.

I don't know how the "dog" figures in, but the shredding part is easily visible when you're about 20 seconds into first track "Battle Toads". Can you imagine a roots rock version of Dillinger Escape Plan? Or maybe a 70's prog rock revival sent through an atom smasher and coming out the other side at 1000 mph? Don't even try...pick up "Brass Tactics" and let your brain be battered senseless. Yes, these guys are another instrumental band...well, mostly, but I'll get to the exception in a minute...but of a much different stripe. SPEED is the name of the game for Dog Shredder, but not in the typical thrash/death sense. Nothing so predictable. Nope, it's more like a combination of heavy prog and surf/rockabilly music that's been speeded up into oblivion, with mind-blowing changes of riff, a drummer who sounds like he has 8 arms about to fall off, and the occasional screaming guitar solo. "Battle Toads" sets the stage with a hyper-velocity prog freakout, but "Battle Snake" follows suit with more of the same, only maybe crazier. Your brain is kept so busy trying to process this music that you don't miss vocals. I cannot really describe Dog Shredder better than I have so far.

However, the band does another 180 degree turn on last cut "Battle 07" (a pattern is beginning to appear in the titles, I think). How about a much slower pace, church organ bringing to mind gospel music, laid back vocals sounding like they are coming through a tin can and strange touches of synth and skronk? It's nothing at all like the first two tracks and nothing to do with metal at all, but it's rather cool.

There's some snide hipsterism going on somewhere in here, but when the music is this freaked, I can live with it. This fucker snuck up on me like a Viet Cong death squad!