While the name Dublin Death Patrol may not ring any bells, the members enlisted certainly will. Featuring Chuck Billy (Testament) and Steve “Zetro” Souza (ex-Exodus, ex-Testament) on vocals, as well as guest appearances by Phil Demmel (Machine Head, Vio-Lence) and Troy Lucketta (Tesla), the band is rounded out by the brothers of Billy and Souza as well as Lääz Rockit bassist Willy Lange and a few local acquaintances, so this project truly is a reflection of Bay Area brotherhood. The band’s debut, DDP 4 LIFE, is a throwback to Testament’s heaviest moments of the mid-nineties mixed with Exodus’ classic Bay Area thrash riffs circa 1987 and topped with a tasty melodic frosting. Twelve tracks””including three covers””make up DDP 4 LIFE and it is clear that these guys had a great time recording these songs. The execution and musicianship is quite good, too, so don’t go in expecting a sloppy, recorded-in-the-garage-after-a-six-pack slapdash effort here. At the same time, don’t go in looking for BONDED BY BLOOD 2 or THE LEGACY 2, either. However, if treated as a separate entity by fans of the respective members’ better-known “day job” bands, DDP 4 Life will have great appeal.
“R.I.P.” jogs along at a mid-paced gallop with Chuck Billy’s familiar roars and bellows placed nicely alongside Zetro’s signature snarl. The blistering solo and thrash metal attack rounds out the track ensuring a sizeable moshpit at live shows. Likewise, the marching groove of “Unnatural Causes” begs people to get moving. “Sid Vicious,” an ode to The Sex Pistols’ doomed guitarist, is suitably melodic with Zetro’s vocals being a real highlight. The title track ripples with Billy’s deathly growl opening the proceedings and a distinctly NWOBHM-inspired guitar solo near the end. Continuing on with the NWOBHM-influence, “Trail of The Executioner” boats a solo by Phil Demmel that hearkens back to bands like Iron Maiden and the riffs here are unforgettable. “Devil In Disguise” will draw many comparisons to Testament ballads like “Return To Serenity” and especially “The Legacy.” Dark and brooding with searing guitars, this track is one of the best of the bunch.
Besides the pairing of Billy and Zetro, the three covers may be the next interesting factor of DDP 4 LIFE. While cover songs are usually added as an after-thought””and most often suck””Dublin Death Patrol has really done wonders with these certifiable classics. Pulling off what is possibly the best attempt at a Motörhead song ever, Billy and Zetro go toe-to-toe on a rollicking version of “Iron Fist” that simply kills. The treatment of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” retains all of John Sykes’ phenomenal leads right down to the jaw-dropping solo, while “Lights Out,” originally recorded by UFO in 1977, gets ad-libbed with a line in the chorus changed to “Lights out in Dublin.” Great stuff.
Skepticism was high going into this release personally. On paper, it sounds like a side project coasting by on a pair of marquee names and in most cases, there is little substance to be found beyond the novelty factor. However, DDP 4 LIFE turns that expectation on its head. Obviously, Chuck Billy and Steve “Zetro” Souza are going to be the draw here but the band really delivers with a collection of originals from the past and present that backs up their legacy and talent. Add in a few excellent cover tunes and Dublin Death Patrol has created a noteworthy release that will please followers of Bay Area thrash and even the most casual of metal fans.
KILLER KUTS: “R.I.P.,” “DDP For Life,” “Sid Vicious,” “Iron Fist,” “Lights Out,” “Trail of The Executioner,” “Devil In Disguise”
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