Ben Wa

Devil Dub

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For all of the sinister devil's head artwork on the cover, and for all of the tracks with titles like "Beelzebub Dub," "Interlude in Limbo" and "Macro Cardio Dub Infarction," this is remarkably pleasant stuff. Yes, the electro-reggae beats are big and heavy, and yes, that's Buckethead on guitar, so you'd expect some pretty heavy atonal shredding in amongst the one drop-riddims and the flanged-out drums. But Buckethead mainly restricts himself to atmospherics, and while the groove is generally pretty dark, it's also often quite beautiful -- the bassline on "Parastolic Dub" is both pretty and catchy enough to make Bill Laswell proud. Note to the band: the Satan stuff isn't dangerous anymore, it's just kind of quaint. Kudos to producer Ben Wa for giving the proceedings a bass-heavy sound that's beautifully defined, yet still big enough at any volume to loosen your floor tiles.

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