(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
“Dreadnaught sprang fully formed from the forehead of Zeus one balmy spring morning.”
So starts the biography of this band on their website.... What kind of band are they you ask? Well, erm.. They call their style “Progabilly” and if I must confess, I was a bit skeptical of the validity of such a genre at first. After listening to the CD though, I’d say that this would have been pretty unclassifiable, so I guess progabilly is as good a word as any.
Dreadnaught is a trio of extremely talented young musicians from New England. They’ve been described rather comically with things like "Zappa meets Yes at Willie Nelson’s BBQ" (Soundcheck) to "King Crimson at a hoedown" (Showcase). My witty comment might go something like “Spock’s Beard versus French TV at the Ten Ton Chicken shack.” To put it quite simply, this band is impossible to pin down. I hear so many different things going on in the music and the sound changes rather frequently.
The music is mainly instrumental but there are vocals bits here and there. The band consists of Robert Lord on bass, Justin Walton on guitars and Richard Habib on drums. There are several guests on the CD as well. The musicianship throughout is quite fierce and the songwriting is very original.
The album opens up with “Ballbuster” and the song sure is! Very heavy, very complex! Timing changes abound along with quirky starts and stops. A rollercoaster ride of insanity, I hear a nice Larks’ Tongues Crimson influence here a lot.
“DEUS EX MACHINA” is the centerpiece of the CD. The entire suite clocks in at over 20 minutes. The bluegrass influence is heavy at the beginning but they soon start treading on freaky water again.
My favorite from the album is the last song, “Clownhead”. After pummeling you with all this for almost an hour, the band goes all out in a blaze of glory. Very technical distorted guitar work leads the song into a nice popish groove for a while and then the band just jams out. After a calliope bridge, there’s a really neat violin solo. Just a really great tune to end the album.
So if you’ve got yourself a taste of the North Mississippi All Stars (or The Word) and think they’d be really wonderful if they progged out, sink your teeth into this sonic watermelon. It’s real juicy!