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Review: "4 of a Kind" by American Crossover Thrash Metal Band DRI

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

American crossover thrash metal and punk band DRI has a habit of releasing hardcore metal albums that are full of anger, angst, and just raw emotion. Their 1988 studio album called 4 of a Kind is no exception to this approach.

The Album Gets Off to a Good Start

“All for Nothing” has a decent bass line and this kind of a start is good because it can bode well for the rest of the song and the album. This opening song is about a person that has eyes full of rage and he is willing to condemn others. To make it brief, we can say that lyrically the song is about a misanthrope. It is followed up by a very good mid-section before the song returns to its beginning riff.

D.R.I. Has One Glaring Weakness However

But because of the style that these guys continue to use on their albums, they may have the problem of sounding too one-dimensional which is a weakness in the genre of heavy metal.

About the Songs In "4 of a Kind"

“Manifest Destiny” is a song that is lyrically self-explanatory for the most part. There is also reference to the fact that some churches are greedy and they keep the money for themselves. There is a brief respite to this anger filled riff style in the start of the song “Do the Dream” as there is a nice atmospheric and soft part. “Modern World” is a song that mentions many of the modern technological gadgets that we now have such as the microwave. The song “Think for Yourself” has a middle section that kind of sounds like something influenced by the band Mercyful Fate because of that 1980s rock and metal feel to it. However, the song then speeds up in usual DRI style. The song lyrically is about making sure that we think for ourselves instead of being quick to judge others or rely on the viewpoints of other people. “Slumlord” lyrically is a song that describes what an apartment building in a poor neighborhood is like. These tenants live in poverty with no heat or electricity available to them which is a recipe for disaster. And then the song “Suit and Tie Guy” is about a businessman who gets his quarterly raises but he is under stress always rushing to get to meetings. This type of person has the potential to experience high levels of burnout, stress, and health problems in the future. The album lyrically brings awareness to many of the social problems confronting the United States especially in 2022.

About the Album Cover and Production

The album’s cover art though is in reference to a poker term, and it also matches the album’s title. Can you see that there are four Joker cards on the album’s cover? But we should not judge any album just by its cover and this is no exception. The production is a significant improvement over the band’s 1985 debut and this factor does help the album out greatly.

Listening to this album in 2022, there is a good chance that you may appreciate it more if you are one of those younger “metalheads” that is listening to this album. It is fair to assume that even if you were 10 years old at the time of this album’s release, you would probably still not have much of an understanding of the style of crossover thrash metal.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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