by Brian Varney
The first new Dictators album in 23 years, D.F.F.D. (stands for “Dictators Forever, Forever Dictators”) opens with “Who Will Save Rock and Roll?,” a single from a couple of years ago that should effectively cast aside any doubts about this being some kinda old-timer’s game. I can’t think of a band that’s been around this long (their first album, Go Girl Crazy!, was released in 1975) that’s still good, let alone making one of the best albums of the year.
In spite of their reputation as one of the godfathers of punk (due mostly, it would seem, to the fact that they’re from New York and started in the mid-’70s), The Dictators have always specialized in a muscular, riff-based rock and roll that has more in common with metal than punk. Nose-thumbing attitude or not, this stuff just has too much heft and thump to sit comfortably alongside bands like Television and the Voidoids. Let’s not forget, after all, that both Twisted Sister and Manowar included former Dictators. Keeping that in mind, the contents of this CD won’t surprise you stylistically – gloriously silly ham-fisted rock music with one-of-a-kind (thank God!) lead singer Handsome Dick Manitoba shouting out songs called “Pussy and Money” and “The Moronic Inferno.” What may surprise you, however, is how little these guys have aged. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was made a couple years after Bloodbrothers (their third and best album). For fans of the earlier LPs and/or Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom (their vastly underrated, metal-tinged 1990 LP, …And You?, is one of the best albums you’ve never heard), this will probably be something of a revelation. I know I’m making a big deal of it , but I can’t believe D.F.F.D. is so damn good. I mean, what right do these guys have to be making music this great twenty-some-odd years after they more or less broke up? Fuck passing the torch, these guys grab it back!
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