Revolutionary Dub Warriors

Reaction Dub, Pt. 1: Deliverance

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Bassist and songwriter Steve Swann and keyboardist Richard Patterson had been on the British reggae scene for almost ten years with various other bands and had several EPs and indepently released full-length releases under their belts when they made their first album under the name Revolutionary Dub Warriors for the On-U Sound label in 1994. With drummer Kevin Maxwell and percussionist Paul Tillotson, they crafted a sound that was a natural match for On-U label head Adrian Sherwood's unique approach to the dub tradition: heavy and rootsy, incorporating much more of the classical 1970s reggae sound than the digital dancehall influence, yet modern and rhythmically propulsive at the same time. Unfortunately, the material on Reaction Dub Part 1: Deliverance is not distinctive enough to make it stand out from the competition. The rhythms are solid and competent, but they are consistently unoriginal; while "Dub the E" incorporates some Middle Eastern vocal samples to nice effect, tracks like "Industrial" and "One Drop" meander aimlessly and fail to develop the musical ideas upon which they're built. What makes the album worth hearing is Sherwood's typically off-the-wall production style, which takes established dub techniques and exaggerates them to sometimes jarring effect. Members of On-U Sound's enthusiastic cult following will enjoy this album, but it won't make a very effective missionary tool.

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