The dirty rotten imbeciles better known as D.R.I. had a couple of claims to fame in the 80s. At one time, they were the fastest band in the world, pioneering the use of blastbeats. They were also considered crossover scene leaders, helping break down a few of the barriers between the once mutually exclusive worlds of metal and hardcore. Positioned as they were, receiving critical acclaim from both scenes, `Thrash Zone' could have seen D.R.I. firmly cement their position as underground music legends. Instead, it saw the band fall by the wayside as little more than an interesting side note in the history of extreme music.
First track "Thrashard" starts promisingly enough, but basically just plods at pedestrian pace. And really, it sets the mood for the entire album. Guitarist Spike Cassidy doesn't seem to have any different tunings or effects for his guitar, and there are very few solos to speak of. In cricketing terms, drummer Felix Griffin plays either medium-fast or slow left arm, and there ain't nothing fancy about either. Kurt Brecht's shout is a bit tuneless, but is fairly standard 1980s hardcore style, and is reasonably easy listening.
There's a social conscience in D.R.I.'s song writing for sure, but it is expressed in very simplistic, almost childish terms. Passages like "Gun control/We need gun control" and "I give a hoot/But I still pollute" stick in your mind hours later, but it's because they are so god awfully clumsy and badly written. The sentiments are noble, but the execution is lacking.
The overall impression of `Thrash Zone' is an album short on good ideas and variety, and of a band which has reached the end of its creative tether. All is not entirely lost. "Kill The Words" uses the slow paced crunch prevalent throughout the album to best effect. "Strategy" almost winds up to a reasonable speed, and has a catchy tune, and "Worker Bee" is a top gear workout, but it's not enough to lift the hit/miss ratio to an acceptable level.
These guys were a highly influential band in their day, but `Thrash Zone' is memorable for the wrong reasons, and the dead horse D.R.I. was flogging was starting to reek.