Dope

American Apathy

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"F*ck the world and f*ck you too." That's the message Edsel Dope emblazons on the disc for American Apathy, a blunt and ugly summary of its profound selfishness. Edsel has never really been happy -- 2003's Group Therapy was a depressing aggro-metal bleat. But with Apathy, Dope's namesake, singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, mixer, and co-art director has become a solitary man in blood-streaked dreadlocks screaming obscenities into a humongous, stinking well. The music is his usual brutal industrial metal. A guitar buzzes incessantly over the relentless pistoning of the drums, and everything from the dull, blaring groove to Edsel's angry shriek is processed and filtered to within a millimeter of humanity. It's powerful, but only in the sense that it will beat you to death. Edsel has his bitter anthems -- "I'm Back," "Survive" -- but he's at his wits' end in "No Way Out." "Fuck the World" is even more blatant, a sub-Ministry endorsement of nihilism as joy, because "I pissed off everything/I don't care what you think/I don't need it/F*ck the world." Dope's American Apathy is strikingly similar to (hed) pe's 2004 effort Only in Amerika, where (hed) mouthpiece Jahred endorsed a skewed policy of guns, marijuana, strippers, and ass-kickings. On "I Wish I Was the President," Edsel imagines himself as Commander in Chief. He uses the office for VIP treatment at the strip club and access to free blow and willing porn stars. (To be fair, he also pushes for a "mandatory raise for the underpaid.") Is Edsel Dope's misguided nationalism a reaction to the culture wars? No. Like (hed) pe, he has nothing left to rail against, so both his desires and enemies become generalities. There's no proper noun attached to "Let's Fuck," and "Revolution" repeats stale gripes about "The Man" and "The System." Even if Edsel's revolution happened, it would likely be as bleak and vapid as American Apathy. The album's like a strip club in the daytime.

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