The Social Event Of The Century
There have to be a lot of people out there asking themselves how so many death metal and grindcore bands can do what they do, night after night, with a straight face. In their corpse paint and leather ensembles, they bellow in their best demon growl, carrying on about all manner of hellish horrors that, let's be honest, few people outside of a warzone or some serial killer's basement will ever have the displeasure to encounter. It's all a ridiculous act, as ridiculous as the idea that Ice Cube has more bad days, in which he has to use an assault rifle to solve his problems, than good ones, where he consumes a healthy breakfast before playing a friendly game of basketball with friends.
This is why Dr. Acula's schtick is appealing. It takes all the aggressive, crunching guitars, blisteringly fast machine-gun drums, soul-destroying death growls and everything else people have come to expect from death metal and wraps it up in a nice, tongue-in-cheek package. Don't misunderstand: Dr. Acula take what they do seriously, but not to the extent that some similar-sounding bands do, drinking their own Kool-Aid and beginning to believe in their own nonsensical demon-come-to-life origin story.
There's a fine line between being a joke band and just being a joke. In most cases, what it comes down to is chops. If you act like you don't care and play like you don't practice, you're probably going to be perceived as a joke. If, on the other hand, you rip and come up with solid, original material album after album, you can pretty much get away with not taking your band too seriously. Screaming, flailing around onstage, playing fast and generally being loud and obnoxious is a lot of fun, so why should a bunch of kids that get to do all of that on a regular basis for money act like the world is about to end?
On their fourth album in as many years, Dr. Acula prove they're not just along for the ride. They've put a lot of effort into getting tight and furthering their sound without compromising their aggressiveness or sense of humor, sophomoric as it may be. They sing about the inanity of video games ("The Music Video Game Olympics"), getting high ("The "L" Train To "High Street,"" "The Rise And Fall Of T.H.C. Tennis") and the carnal arts ("Is This A Party Or A Dick Measuring Contest?"). It's no "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner," but it's not supposed to be. One downer, and it's a big one, is the endless parade of silly samples. Nearly ever song has a clip from TV shows (The Family Guy, South Park) or films (Encino Man, Kindergarten Cop and True Romance). There's even a sample of a bong hit. Really, guys? It's just too easy and predictable for an otherwise solid album.