Slaves On Dope – Metafour
The story of Slaves on Dope is an intriguing
one indeed; it in fact speaks volumes about the music business. Here is
a band that, despite captivating a large fan base in their native Canada,
couldn’t land a record deal. Then they got smart and relocated to Los Angeles
and within months, Sharon Osbourne was knocking on their door with a deal.
It looked like all the stars were finally
aligning for the band. They put out their debut album on Ozzy’s label,
landed a great spot on Ozzfest and started building a nice buzz among hard
rock fans… then it all seemed to fall apart. The label that was handling
Ozzy’s imprint (Marilyn Manson’s as well) closed their doors and while
Slaves on Dope had a strong debut with their first CD and the momentum
was clearly behind them, it all seemed to come crashing to a stop when
the label went under.
Most band’s would have called it a day
at that point and split up, with member going off to seek their fame and
fortune with new bands. But if there is one thing that Slaves on Dope have
proven over the years, it’s the fact that they don’t give up easily. After
Ozzfest ended, they kept at it, playing shows and bringing their music
to the fans. They also began working on new material that they knew would
make up their sophomore album, once they landed the new deal they knew
would eventually come.
It didn’t take long. The Bieler Bros. Records
were on the hunt for good hard rock bands to put out on their new MCA/Universal
backed label and Slaves on Dope seemed the perfect match.
Now we get to the heart of the matter,
Slaves on Dope’s new CD—“Metafour”. This album is likely to receive a mixed
reaction by those who are familiar with the band. Most bands would have
played it safe and basically rehashed their debut album when it came time
to write and record a follow up, but Slaves on Dope had gone through so
much over the past couple of years that they couldn’t get away from incorporating
what they have learned into the album. The end result is a far more mature,
astute and melodically focused Slaves on Dope.
The band still projects power with their
music but unlike their debut where it seemed to be power for power’s sake,
on “Metafour” the band instead harnesses all of the tools in their musical
arsenal and in the end we get a much more balanced band. At the end of
the day, that means that Slaves on Dope will have a much wider appeal.
On the other hand, some old time fans might find that the music here is
It’s a high wire act that most bands that
put out heavy rock have to perform. Do they lock themselves into one pet
formula or do they use their music as a vehicle to reflect their own lives,
where they have grown and matured as people? There are pluses and minus
to either approach. On one hand, you risk alienating your fan base if you
come up with music that is too different but on the other hand, you open
more doors if your new music is much more commercially viable.
For Slaves on Dope they found a middle
ground between those two extremes. This isn’t an album focused on winning
over Top 40 radio by any means, but it does have a lot bigger commercial
appeal with a more polished production and wider-ranging songwriting focus?
The real test is when you take "Metafour" on it’s own and see how it measures
up as an album, without the benefit of looking back on their previous work.
In that case, the band really did produce a strong album from the first
single “Go” to the equally appealing “September” and “Caffeine Love Affair”.
The real genesis here came to vocalist Jason Rockman, who really broke
out of the modern metal box and on this album utilizes the full scope of
his vocal talent instead of falling back on the tried but true metal scream
“Metafour” is a testament to the band’s
resilience and the fact that they have stayed true to their dreams. Lesser
bands would have opted out or not measured up to the task when it came
time to prove themselves once again. Slaves on Dope can be proud with what
they accomplished this time around and “Metafour” should open more doors
for them. That being said, it will be interesting to see how the recent
folding of MCA affects the band’s new home, Beiler Bros. At the time this
is being written, it is not known whether the label will continue to be
backed by Universal or not. Let’s hope for the sake of Slaves on Dope and
the other band’s on the label that this isn’t a repeat of what happened
with Ozzy’s label. They’ve paid their dues and it would be tragic if they
suffered the same fate with this album.
On Dope – Metafour
to samples and Purchase this CD online
Slaves on Dope's official homepage for more info on this CD and the band.