Friday, June 22, 2012

Year of The Dragon - Five Fingers of Def!

Stylus Recs

When it seems that old bands reforming are the current rage so it's always great to see those that go against the grain. Despite being a new band at least two member of Year of The Dragon have a lengthy history as two members of the band were once in ska-funk punk band Fishbone, who if never received recognition were always namechecked as a fellow black band by Living Colour whenever Living Colour received music awards and the less mainstream were ignored.

Living Colour are the first band that comes to mind at the intro to "Quit Bitchin'" but there's a Faith No More style that takes me back to both the Chuck Mosley period and Mike Patton's debut performance on "The Real Thing" with half spoken/half song vocals. Just close your eyes and listen to "Just Don't Know" and, depending on your age and maybe also your collection of American punk rock, you'll worship of either Pennywise or Bad Religion apart from the half spoken threats.

There's no denying the sweet smothering of funkiness that covers "I am Your Darkness". "Open Up Your Eyes" is funk metal with a full complement of power metal screams that are reminiscent of long-running San Francisco african-american three piece metal band Stone Vengeance. "Simple Man" slows proceedings down and fits directly into the time in the 80's where many bands were fitting funk with metal and punk. The period of hybridization was disastrous for the likes of Murphy's Law and Token Entry judging by the fact that their albums were near instant bargain bin fodder despite the emphasis on fun, which is the crux of this particular tune. "Race of Doom" speeds to the finish line with begins as a head nodder and end but chorus singers provide the meat in the sandwich.

There's a few speed bumps on this EP as the transitions in songs aren't always sweet. It needs to be mentioned that this label, Stylus Recs is co-run by Greg Hetson of the Circle Jerks and Bad Religon. It should be an auspicious year for Year of The Dragon.


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