I will start off by saying that I am not some pretentious douche that gets his kicks out of knowing and claiming to like bands that no one has ever heard of. In fact, I can’t stand those guys, and in reality most of my favorite bands are very well-known. Most people have heard of, if not actually heard or followed, bands like Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Deftones, Radiohead, etc. because they are some of the biggest bands of our generation. However, it is on a rare occasion when I mention one of my absolute favorites, Dredg, and I don’t get a confused or clueless look. This entry is an attempt to shed some light on how big of a shame it is that a band of this caliber can somehow go unnoticed by a large amount of music lovers, and people in general.
Dredg is a band hailing out of Los Gatos, California that formed somewhere in the mid 1990’s. They started out as a sort of heavy-alternative, maybe even metal act, and have steadily progressed throughout their careers to the point where it is hard to quantify them within the realms of regular genre nomenclature. Some call them progressive rock, alternative rock, art rock, etc. but I think any label of the sort is leaving some aspect of what they do out of it. The majority of their releases have been concept albums which, as I mentioned in my blog about the Nine Inch Nails album “The Fragile”, is very high upon the list of qualities I look (or scower) for in music. The way they their albums flow from beginning to end is brilliant. Pure brilliance. Usually based around a theme (they drew their inspiration for one album from a Salvador Dali painting, another from an essay by Salman Rushdie, and so on), in many cases their albums use instrumental sections or movements to tie it all together. It takes much more effort and dedication to the art form that is music to put an album together this way as opposed to making 10-12 songs that have nothing to do with one another and putting them in a random order. Dredg is masterful at this. Their albums are a singular piece of symphony-esque music rather than just a collection of songs, and I dare say you will not find a better collection of concept albums this side of Pink Floyd.
It blows my mind that a band that is this superior to the mainstream bullshit that everyone listens to has somehow managed to put together a catalog as impressive as theirs yet still fly under the radar. The fact that bands like Nickelback, Buckcherry, Hinder, and a million others it seems, that use and abuse music solely as a way to become rich and famous can command so much attention from the general public when there are bands like Dredg who make music because they love the art and as a medium to express themselves is beyond me. They are not a band that is starving or struggling to get by, as they have developed quite a cult following over the years, but there is something wrong with the fact that their existence is still having to be spread largely by word of mouth in this day and age. It’s certainly not anything of they’re doing, because they have obviously honed their craft in my opinion. For one reason or another, people just fail when it comes to selecting music these days. I need only venture slightly out of the rock genre to site all of the pathetic pop acts that are currently being worshiped by the masses. How it is possible for Dredg and so many other good bands to go unnoticed while this trash pollutes and saturates the radio severely diminishes the hope I have for society in general. I plan on addressing this further in a later blog, but for now, I digress…
It was not love at first listen for me with Dredg. It took me awhile of only liking a few songs to really get into them and realize everything that they do musically. I think that was mostly because at first I didn’t take their albums as the cohesive pieces of music that they are, and instead tried to pick and choose songs here or there, mainly because a close friend of mine held them up next to bands that I already loved such as Tool. Once I set aside the time to hear each album in its entirety, the proverbial flood gates opened and it was not long before I held them in such light myself. They really are as good of a contemporary band that there is, and I implore anyone who has yet to hear of them, or anyone who has and doesn’t share the same exuberance for them as me to take a second, and third, and fourth, and fifth listen. As many as it takes, because in all honesty Dredg’s commanding, invigorating, and intoxicating music is all there for you to experience, you just have to run through the open door.
If you want to give them an honest shot and in turn enhance your life with their music, I would start out with the album “Catch Without Arms” as I think it would be the most similar to other bands you may enjoy. However, their real magnificence shines on “Leitmotif”, “El Cielo”, and “The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion”. Although listening to a single song of theirs is not the right way to do it, here is the first Dredg song I heard, the one that got the hook in deep:
I honestly could sit here and type about how great they are for another 5,000 words and it wouldn’t do them justice. Do yourself a favor and check them out, and then go and tell everyone you know about the greatest band they have never heard of.