Dog Shredder are one of the most interesting upcoming bands around. Their amalgamation of hard rock and progressive metal is impressive enough, but then it’s all played in a punky hack-and-slash way. With such a bizarre combination of styles, it might be difficult to play with technical proficiency, but the Washington trio pull it off each time sublimely. But don’t think their musical technicality means they lack a definitive sound and melody – they are a very distinctive band, and while the back catalogue is not extensive (5 songs across 2 EPs), they’re a band that care about the music and how they play. Their 2010 EP Boss Rhino was a great starting point for them, an ever-changing event that displayed a great garage band vibe. Now they look to take it one step further with Brass Tactics, a 3 track EP that hopes to best their previous effort. However, it seems with this most recent record, less appears to be more.
Boss Rhino consisted of 2 tracks, both around the 10 minute mark, whereas Brass Tactics favours shorter songs with more pace. ‘Battle Toads’ is a headbanging opener, notably showcasing the mind-blowing speed of the drumming as well as the vibrant bouncing bass that will get those neck muscles moving. This is a track that encompasses all that is good about Dog Shredder; the garage-punk vibe and the spring and rhythm of the music. It’s a mass pile of music, layers upon layers that might sound difficult to get into but there is enough immediate impact that the track stays with you after it finishes, a feeling that I believed the previous EP lacked somewhat. ‘Battle Snakes’, similarly, replicates the quick finger-tapping guitar work of Boss Rhino and does create a live atmosphere almost. You can picture guitarist Josh Holland thrashing around the room about to trip and fall into his band mates, and it’s an exciting tone that covers all 3 tracks on the EP. ‘Battle 07′ is the wildcard of the record; it takes the EP on a darker turn that seems almost gothic in feel with its distorted vocals, organ chords and slow, doom-like riffs. At 3 and ½ minutes, it is the shortest track Dog Shredder have ever made and I would eager to see if they could encompass this style on a full-length record in the future because it gives this EP a different personality to how it begins. The shorter song structure, I feel, works better for them. Each track has a different impact and its more apparent than it was on Boss Rhino.
With 2 good EPs to their name, I and many others are looking forward to a debut full-length from Dog Shredder. It’s complex, fun and above all else, it shows some great ambition from 3 very talented musicians. I can understand the intensity and the schizophrenic nature of the tracks may be a little too much for some people, but give this EP a go if you fancy supporting a band with great musicianship and who put a lot of love and attention in their work.