Dopecopper- Sadistic Intent

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, February 27, 2014

While I don’t always see it mentioned, Baltimore is a pretty great place to be for underground punk and metal. The city has spawned plenty of great acts over the decades, and if you go to a smaller show in the city to catch a touring band you can be sure the openers will probably be worth checking out, which isn’t something that can be said everywhere. One of the newer bands to form in Baltimore is crust punk/d-beat group Dopecopper, a name I’ve seen around quite a bit recently but hadn’t been able to check out just yet. Their Sadistic Intent EP came out on cassette and digital formats a little earlier in the month, and it has fifteen and a half minutes of aggressive riffs and in your face vocals that are sure to catch the attention of anyone that has an interest in this genre.

Dopecopper pulls from a familiar mix of sounds, as each of the six songs on Sadistic Intent blends fast paced and heavy hitting instrumental work with melodic guitar leads that grab your attention. It’s sure to remind listeners of a number of different crust bands, but the riffs stand out enough to keep Sadistic Intent from feeling too much like a clone of any one particular act. What worked particularly well throughout each of the six tracks was the ability of the instrumentalists to throw in some slower grooves and mellower sections in between the raging d-beat, all while keeping things fairly short. I’ve noticed that this genre sometimes has a tendency to stretch out the intros and interludes a bit too long and then not offer enough substance, so it’s nice to see that Dopecopper makes the most of their track times. The production values definitely help in this regard, as there’s a level of clarity to the instrumental work that makes it easy to pick out the finer details and tell the songs apart from each other. While we’re on the topic of the recording itself, I’d like to see the group continue to emphasize the bass as much as they do on Sadistic Intent, as that extra crunchiness adds some much needed weight to the material and makes the riffs hit even harder.

The vocals on Sadistic Intent bring the type of abrasive and in your face screaming/growling that works so well in this genre, and Dopecopper’s singer Grey is able to keep the energy level at a high for the entire release. Although the pitch doesn’t change that significantly throughout the six tracks it never becomes grating or repetitive, keeping the listener engaged the entire time. Compared to some of the other crust releases out there the vocals have been given a bit more priority in the overall mix, allowing them to take the spotlight rather than getting buried behind a wall of sound. You may find the overall style to be familiar, but it’s done convincingly and the level of aggression that Grey brings to the table on a regular basis is a definite strength.

Although there is still plenty of room for this group to further develop and find their own style within this genre, there’s no denying that what they’ve done so far still makes an impression. The sound is familiar but there are standout riffs during the fifteen minute run time, and there’s a level of polish to the material that isn’t always present from bands that have been around for as short of a time as Dopecopper have. It looks like Baltimore is home to yet another noteworthy group in the metal/punk spectrum, and hopefully they stick around and continue to find their distinctive elements in the years to come.

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