REVIEW: Dope – ‘Blood Money Part Zer0’

By Greg Maki

You’re forgiven if you haven’t given much thought to Dope in the past decade-plus. A band tends to fall off the radar when it releases only one new studio record in a 13-year period. That was the case for the Edsel Dope-led, industrial metal outfit prior to 2023, with its only new material since 2009, the anticipatorily titled “Blood Money Part 1,” coming in 2016. After keeping busy for a time largely with music-adjacent outside business interests, Edsel kinda sorta resurfaced a few years ago as the maybe-it’s-him, OK-it-really-is-but-let’s-play-along-and-keep-the-focus-on-the-original-band masked vocalist known as Xer0 for the reconstituted Static-X. Dope never was forgotten, though, as the band toured extensively with Static-X, and Edsel and company put together their seventh studio album, the long-awaited “Blood Money Part Zer0.”

The record is a triumphant return for Dope, from the first notes of the relentlessly heavy opener “No Respect” through the angry stomp of the closing “Wide.” Adding a modern flair, electro elements are a little more prevalent, largely due to a handful of collaborations with Edsel’s side project Drama Club. But this is very much the same angst-ridden band responsible for such bangers as “Everything Sucks” and “Die MF Die,” with chugging riffs and pounding rhythms custom made for mosh pits and dance floors alike. While I naturally gravitate toward the heavier selections, such as the aforementioned “No Respect,” “Choke” and “Fuck It Up,” the highlights also include the infectiously bouncy “Misery” and a cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong” (both featuring Drama Club).

Listening to those first few Dope albums always transports me back to the days when nü metal ruled in the early 2000s, yet due to Edsel’s superior songwriting—the man knows his way around a catchy chorus as much as he does an aggro call to arms—the music itself doesn’t feel dated. And neither does the 2023 version. After so much inactivity, it’s great simply having new Dope music, and the time away has cost the band neither its edge nor its listenability. Please don’t make us wait seven years again, Edsel.

Rating: 8/10

EPOD Entertainment Group – February 24, 2023

Get a free digital download of “Blood Money Part Zer0,” or buy a copy on vinyl or CD.
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