THE THOMAS THOMPSON EARTH PROJECT- Dreamland Lovecraft
Surely by now you're no stranger to Bride vocalist extraordinaire Dale Thompson's multiple studio projects (The World Will Burn, Perpetual Paranoia, N.O.G., Dabster Gentlemen.) Though Dale now lives in New Zealand, we get to hear much more from the renaissance man. One of the most popular of his bands has been Dale's collaboration with Hand of Fire guitarist Tiago Souza in Perpetual Paranoia. Thompson's seemingly endless ability to explore the range and scope of his vocal abilities is matched neatly by Tiago's ability to pull an infinite number of sounds from his guitar. But for this project (TTEP), the pair is joined by multi instrumentalist Garret Thomas, who adds a dimension that makes this quite different from Perpetual Paranoia.
The album is quite eccentric in nature, but a tasty treat nonetheless. There are bits of modern metal, thrash, and early Bride, as well as some keyboard laden rock that reminds me of the era when pop artists would hire famous guitarists to play hot licks to spice up their songs. The band name is a mouthful. Why the band wasn't called Souza, Thomas, Thompson, I'm not sure. Perhaps the name just matched the trippy album name and cover (someone say "Psychedelic Super Jesus"?) Vocally we are treated to the sounds of Dale on Dale on Dale. And by that I mean that everything you hear is Dale- the screams, the raps, the ridiculously high falsettos, and my favorite- the creepy storyteller voice (remember the intro to "Heroes"?) The guy's still got a pair of pipes and it's amazing what he can do with them when he's wood-shedding- occasionally cringe-worthy, but still fun and not at all a paint-by-the numbers kind of metal album.
The track listing on the back of the cd is out of order. Dale's lyrics here bring to mind the same style as on Snakes in the Playground- creating a musical stew using biblical truths, storytelling, and a hint of mystery for ingredients, with the end result being more of a journey, and less straight forward than Bride's latter 90's output. In "Lift Him Up," we are exhorted to draw all men unto Christ. In "Fire Starter," we see God portrayed as the refining fire in our lives. In "Soul Killers," fallen angels try to deceive man, but Jesus is the Saviour of the world. In "Down the Devil's Throat," the message that Jesus is the last hope shines through. "Eternity and Mercy" references sci fi. "Music is My Super Power" seems to be an autobiographical sketch of Dale's life, the contentious "Live to Fight Another Day" might be as well. "The Long Dark Winter" tells a story like "Heroes" did and then takes a 90 degree hip hop turn down the yellow brick road. Musically The Thomas Thompson Earth Project is a success. It has a different character than Dale's other bands- much more groove oriented than Perpetual Paranoia's thrashier vibe, without sacrificing any heaviness and remains more eclectic in nature, and the strangeness of the album has grown on me. (Roxx Records) -4 Out of 5 Stars
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