Dirty Shirt

Freak Show

Written by: MN on 14/12/2013 23:35:08

Dirty Shirt are a Romanian band from the village of Seini in Maramureş region and my preconceptions of anything Romanian is either highly chaotic brass-fueled serenades or alternatively, a gypsy inspired Spanish guitar-ridden folkloric tune. Now, in my outlook for something new to review, my hungry look turned towards Dirty Shirt, partially because my curious disposition often leads me to explore music beyond the conventional sources for metal, but also because "crossover" to me seems like an intriguing term that can imply either great success or massive failure. Crossover bands like The Bunny The Bear are in my opinion an example where the mix of dance synths with hardcore/metalcore influences don't work. So, with a potential result of either praising the band to the skys or the complete opposite, Dirty Shirt fits this description.

As the Darbuka drums introduce opening track "Ride" along with tasteful grungy acoustic tones, I realize I'm in for something different. When the heavy riffs enter the mixture, a deep baritone voice is introduced which is oddly similar to Cameron Heacock of American Head Charge. After a few more tracks, it becomes apparent that Dirty Shirt are firmly founded between the crossroads of groove metal and nu metal, but choose to sprinkle local influences in form of Balkan-like compositions. Occasionally, elements ranging from death metal to hardcore will make their way to your auditory channels.

"Bad Apples" introduces some grand female vocals adding further Balkanesque elements to the mix and with the gypsy guitars reminiscent of System Of A Down on their more fun-ridden endeavours, the compositions are largely succesful.

"Freak Show" is another lighthearted rock'n'roll track featuring both double pedals and scream vocals coupled with some rap metal influences. Its sometimes tough to come to terms with the harsh vocals as they occasionally seem superfluous, a little bit like a bad symptom of many other bands labeled as "crossover". Nonetheless, songs like "Away" and "The Business of Life" prove that these guys are serious musicians capable of executing grandiose songs with competence. The latter containing one of the most tasteful riffs which could easily have been pulled out of the hat by the esteemed Tom Morello.

"Saraca Inima Me" is a curious song with an even more excentric music video, yet its one of the more satisfying songs. Its a traditional Romanian folklore song, but rearranged to be much more heavy in heart and somatic in effect. To end the festivities in this album, "Rocks Off" bring in elements similar to Dubioza Kolektiv, Locomondo and Manu Chao with a clear ska character.

According to their history, Dirty Shirt are known for travelling extensively and playing numerous larger festivals in their native Romania, even travelling abroad to unleash the Balkan beast. This hints that Dirty Shirt are probably one fantastic live band with an immense energy, similar to Gogol Bordello and Locomondo. Their record is probably not something I would listen to repeatedly yet I would sporadically return to it when in need for something different, and rest assured, were they to visit Copenhagen, I would be there in a heartbeat.


Download: Freak Show, Bad Apples, Away
For The Fans Of: Soil, Godsmack, Gogol Bordello, Korn
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 17.02.2013
Self released

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