King Tubby was a Jamaican sound engineer who influenced dub in the 60s and 70s. For many, King Tubby’s work on the dials and switches would be influential in how albums were handled in post-production and how the wires and circuits could be used to augment and at times completely alter the constructs of the song, instruments and tempo.
Dub Trio takes the dub style of King Tubby to another level, recreating the dub style in the context of experimental metal. Dub Trio IV is my first experience with the band. It won’t be my last.
Comprised of Dave Holmes (keyboards and guitar), Stu Brooks (bass and keyboards) and Joe Tomino (drums and melodica), Dub Trio works through nine instrumental recordings on IV with reckless abandon. There’s no letting up on the sonic assault.
The sheer volume of IV is to be respected. The lower end crush of tracks like “Swarm” can overpower, grinding away with scraping guitar and a mass of sound from all angles. The colossal assault can be exhausting at times, with Dub Trio showing no signs of giving up the ghost as they grind through the arrangements.
There are also solid grooves, like the one living under “Control Issues Controlling Your Mind.” Holmes’ guitar chews away like a chainsaw, grating away before lowering into a thrust of drone and noise rock.
Lest anyone believe that Dub Trio is only couched in studio magic, the band was dispatched as part of Mike Patton’s Peeing Tom touring company and knows how to manipulate pedals and instruments on stage as well as in the studio. This coaxing of ungodly sounds takes some getting used to, but the flat grooves and sheer weight of IV makes it a worthy listen.
Whether it’s the forceful punk of “Patient Zero” or the chunky near-reggae of “Thousand Mile Stare,” Dub Trio is on to something with this mash-up of styles and textures.
As with many boundary-shattering works, I have to place IV snugly in the “takes some getting used to” category. Courageous listeners will dig the sparkle Dub Trio brings to the table, but those with more conventional tastes may find themselves caught in the wiring.