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Dredg - El Cielo Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.75
Musicianship 9.75
Lyrics 10
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.75
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Final Verdict: 98%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.88
Musicianship 9.81
Lyrics 9.81
Production 9.69
Creativity 9.81
Lasting Value 9.81
Reviewer Tilt 9.88
Average: 98%
Inside AP.net

Dredg - El Cielo

Reviewed by: live4music (11/14/08)
Dredg - El Cielo
Record Label: Interscope
Release Date: October 8, 2002


Realistically there are some bands out there that I think should be big, but I understand why they aren't (like Thrice). But then there is that one band who, for the life of me, I can't figure out how they aren't huge. Dredg is that band. I can understand a lack of commercial success for them, but I have no clue why they aren't a critical favorite right up there with the likes of TV on the Radio (that'd be a wicked tour!). It's impossible to be original these days, but Dredg is indeed a breath of fresh air.

El Cielo is a concept album about the phenomena known as sleep paralysis (where you wake up, but are paralyzed, sometimes still thinking you are in your dream). This is definitely one of those albums that you just need to press play and let it do its magic. Even the few interludes are great additions to the album, hauntingly taking you in and out of the songs throughout the CD. Lead singer, Gavin Hayes, oozes charisma and serenades every song with immense passion. When performing live, he becomes an erratic, modern-day Jim Morrison. Dredg's bassist, Drew Roulette, plays every show barefoot, because he has so many pedals and triggers he needs to set off. Dino Campanella beats the hell out of his drums with complex, intricate beats. Live, Campanella can be seen playing both piano and drums during shows on occasion. I don't know how guitarist Mike Engles' strings don't fly off after every song, because of his intense aggression when strumming his guitar.

The album's first song (and single at the time) is "Same Ol' Road," which includes great commentary throughout the lyrics, "All you need is a modest house, in a modest neighborhood/ in a modest town, where honest people dwell." "Sanzen" soon follows and is an epic love song proclaiming throughout, "I'll be with you soon!" The third non-interlude track is the classic, "Triangle," which sounds more like a demo than an actual song at first with the spatter of drums and the drone of the guitar. The song seems to end for a solid fifteen seconds until Hayes bounces back in abruptly with "Watch it explode/ while it's not impossible for flowers to bloom next to graves/ and babies are born/ in the same buildings where people go/ to pass away." It obvious by only the third song that the lyrics/vocals are the focal point of the group. Haye's deliverance helps give Dredg their unique sound. It's obvious just reading the few lyrics above that the words don't seem to go together, but Hayes crafts them together wonderfully.

"Convalescent" gives the album a lift and speeds up the pace. The chorus is actually reminiscent of some of the classics by Journey. "Eighteen People Living in Harmony" is carried by a quirky guitar riff throughout and starts with Hayes singing through what sounds like a gas mask. Campanella smashes his drums quite a bit leading up with the song's crescendo. "Scissor Lock" is a haunting song with some catchy plucking of the guitar. This is simply a beautiful, mellow song that is great to go to sleep to. Campanella showcases his talent on "Of the Room" and makes some memorable beats at even the simplest moments of the song. It is yet another epic song that has a dreamy, transcendent chorus. The ability to make such a complex song sound so simple is no easy feat, but Dredg continuously pull it off. "It Only Took a Day" is the heaviest track on the album and one of the best. The song slowly hypnotizes you and then slaps you across the face and wakes you up. The musicianship during the chorus is dead-on and showcases each member's talents. "The Canyon Behind Her" closes out the album and showcases both the great mellow side of the band and the aggressive side. It leads in with a piano, has a crazy breakdown that involves Hayes beating his slide guitar with a screw driver, and then closes perfectly, beautifully with a chorus that sounds like the sun shining.

Dredg is the Pink Floyd version of Dillinger Escape Plan. They use complex sounds (the quirkiest are compliments of Roulette) and patterns throughout the album that can go five different directions in the same song. It is a rock record, but it has a thread of India influencing it throughout (which has been omitted on their following album). Something unexplainable about this album is that it takes me places. There are few records that I listen to that I literally feel like they create an atmosphere around me. It's hard to write a review of one of your favorite albums of all time and convince them that I'm not just being a huge fanboy. All I'm saying is that Dredg is right up there with Radiohead as far as I'm concerned, and anyone who disagrees should listen to this album. I hope this album gives you as much as it gave me.

Recommended if You LikeStrata; Incubus; Deftone's White Pony

myspace.com/dredg
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23.
03:37 PM on 11/25/08
#2
Sunken In
All I think about is floating away
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Solid review of one of my favorite albums ever, but I feel that your comparisons are completely wrong. The last thing I think of when I hear Dredg is Incubus. Or Strata, for that matter.

White Pony, MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYBE



but not really.
02:51 PM on 11/26/08
#3
live4music
Digitally Bathing
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I couldn't agree more... kinda. Strata I think is a definite good comparison (especially newer Dredg), but it may be bad to use for El Cielo in particular. I mean honestly name me something that you can compare El Cielo to? I chose Incubus, Strata, and White Pony b/c I think people that enjoy those goods will enjoy Dredg. Oh well...
02:54 PM on 11/27/08
#4
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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I couldn't agree more... kinda. Strata I think is a definite good comparison (especially newer Dredg), but it may be bad to use for El Cielo in particular. I mean honestly name me something that you can compare El Cielo to? I chose Incubus, Strata, and White Pony b/c I think people that enjoy those goods will enjoy Dredg. Oh well...
I agree. It's a recommended if you like, not sounds like.
10:35 AM on 12/01/08
#5
Lacrimosa
01101100 01101111 01101100
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Absolutely agree with the score, this is so close to being perfect. Fuck Leitmotif being their magnum opus, this is definitely their finest hour yet.
10:36 AM on 12/01/08
#6
fftsjason
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i actually saw strata open for dredg (before they signed to wind up) back on dredg's el cielo headlining tour...amazing show. code 7 was also an opener. this is one of my favorite bands, if not my fav, of all time. amazing album, amazing live show. i've seen them 6 times now and am never disspointed. i can't wait for their new album.
10:45 AM on 12/01/08
#7
midtown4657
Dorsey / Andy
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this is their defining album to me. this band is remarkable, especially live.
10:57 AM on 12/01/08
#8
jusaphase
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thanks for waiting 5 years to review this album, damn.
11:20 AM on 12/01/08
#9
sevinw0rds
Polyrhythms!
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It's always refreshing to see Dredg fans on this site. El Cielo will surely be one of my all-time favorite albums throughout my life. Seen these dudes 5 times in 4 different U.S. cities and they never fail to bring the magic.
12:10 PM on 12/01/08
carrie06
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This is a great review. I love this album and this band. And you are all right, it is hard to compare becuse they are so unique but that is what makes them so great.
12:20 PM on 12/01/08
kemichels
I drove through ghosts to get here.
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great review, and I couldn't agree more with the score. But I DO think you at least need to mention Salvador Dali's painting " Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate One Second Before Awakening," whenever anyone reviews this album. Definitely the major influence.
12:24 PM on 12/01/08
kemichels
I drove through ghosts to get here.
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by the way, the band opening for dredg on tour right now, Judgment Day, is SO amazing. If they don't take your breath away with their performance, something is wrong with you.
01:17 PM on 12/01/08
queenofcrouton
relapsing into madness
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I will check out this album. Nice review.
01:29 PM on 12/01/08
heyozzie
It's evolution baby!
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one of my favorite albums of all time.
02:02 PM on 12/01/08
Lacrimosa
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Agreed on the 'Nice to see dredg fans on AP' comment.
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