Sunday, December 6, 2015
Archive Review: The Dictators' Bloodbrothers (1999 reissue)
Sadly, for many years, only the first of the band's trio of hard rocking elpees remained in print. Since the labels that originally issued these gems had no interest in putting the other two Dictators albums out on CD, the band took it upon themselves to grab the rights to Bloodbrothers, their third (and, arguably, their best) album and reissued it their own damn selves.
Bloodbrothers is full of great songs. “Faster & Louder” is hardcore punk stripped bare, more an affirmation of the band's musical philosophy than an attempt at cultural documentation. “The Minnesota Strip” lyrically visits that infamous section of New York City, known for its youthful population of runaways, junkies and whores of both genders. Punctuated by the razor-sharp twin guitars of Ross “The Boss” and Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, the song is as haunting as the dark streets it evokes. “Stay With Me” is the sort of harmony-filled pop/rock ditty that the Del Lords would later perfect (remaking this song on their last album). The band ends the disc with as much energy as they started it, burning through a savage rendering of the Flamin' Groovies' “Slow Death.” All told, Bloodbrothers simply bristles with energy, an album made by a band shooting for the big time with absolutely nothing to lose.
Although Kempner would go on to found the Del Lords, and most of the rest of the Dictators would reunite as Manitoba's Wild Kingdom for an album with lead singer “Handsome” Dick Manitoba, the work that these guys did with the Dictators is priceless, straight-ahead classic rock straight from the streets. Dictators Forever, Forever Dictators! (Dictators Multimedia, released November 1998)