Dogz On Parole
by Andrew C Schlett
So, I’m sitting at Shifter’s Saloon one night a few months back helping an old friend celebrate her birthday, talking with this random stranger about music, and he said that the only difference between punk rock and metal is a 3/4 beat instead of a 4/4 one. The only difference? Not hardly, I think. There are more contrasts than comparisons between the two genres, and people generally lean either one way or the other – punk or metal - and stay that way until they die. Punk rock has more to do with attitude than with anything else, musicianship included; where metal is more about chunk and heavy riffs, far-reaching musical imagery and artistic structure, punk is more about anarchy and disorder than it is guitar power. The metal musician may dream of someday being the next Metal God, delivering screaming chords to jam-packed arenas and stadiums around the world, whereas the punk rocker cannot even consider becoming famous because that would be anachronistic to punk’s core value: value nothing. Throughout the ‘70s and most of the ‘80s, these two camps were openly hostile to one another. During the ‘90s, though, and perhaps in response to the overwhelming dominance of grunge at that time, the two sides moved closer to détente, and by now punk and metal more or less co-exist harmoniously. It’s not too often they merge, though, and even less frequently does that union produce offspring of any real value.
Which brings me in nicely to Dogz On Parole. Rivethead Magazine has called them “the second-best punk band in Houston behind only The Hates” and this is a judgment we still stand behind. However, it is not entirely correct, or even accurate, to call the Dogz a strictly ‘punk’ band. To listen to their self-produced full-length debut CD Confinement is to hear the best that both the punk and metal worlds have to offer. There is all the undirected rage of the Sex Pistols and a violent, slam-happy Black Flag-like musical structure, but there is the occasional searing guitar work reminiscent of classic Dio or Priest peppered throughout. There is length to many of these tracks as well, some as little as two minutes and others closer to four, but none of those little 12 to 25-second vignettes that so many punk bands put out as “songs”. The musical and artistic structure presented here stands harmoniously with chaotic chord disorder to produce a full-length come-out release of both strength and quality. At no time does the frenzied pace of this album let up or relent; it rolls nonstop from beginning to end.
There are eleven songs on this record, and though they all have a similar feel to them which helps the flow of musical continuity throughout the effort, there are a few that caught my ear as being above par. The first song ‘Wish I Only Knew’ sets the rugged punk-infused tone of the entire record, and it only gets better from there. ‘Fallen’ is also a great track, laying heavy metal guitar work over the punk beat and infusing raw vocal desperation; this is also found prevalently and with measurable success in the love anthem ‘All I Want’. There is an unexpected, subtle kind of harmony behind songs like ‘Harder’ and ‘Lonely’ that doesn’t sneak up on you until you’re halfway in and it’s way too late to back out. ‘Tell Me’ opens with a wicked bass riff and some guitar work worthy of the finest metal traditions and keeps rolling for three full minutes of reckless punk/metal fusion. Dogz On Parole are more than just the sum of their influences, though, as there is attitude, angst, anger, and an underlying social conscience all through Confinement that is theirs and theirs alone, driving the music and keeping the listener pinned from start to finish. It’s probably not metal enough for the pure metalhead and probably not punk enough for the pure punk rocker - if such creatures even still exist - but that only adds to the unique overall appeal of this album. It treads where few others have ever dared, or as far as I know even tried, to tread before. Speaking as an old-school headbanger who never had much time or indulgence for punk rock, I dig it.
Dogz On Parole is a four-piece comprised of Rocker Jonez on vocals and guitar, Juice on lead guitar, Tifferz on bass, and, at least until somewhat recently, Mr. Insane on drums. Mr. Insane is no longer with the band, but the Dogz have moved forward with a new drummer and continue to play to increasingly larger audiences each time in and around the Houston area. You can pick up your copy of Confinement at any of these shows. You can also find it, and them, on the internet through these helpful social medias:
All I Want / King For A Day / Dogz On Parole
BECAUSE THE MUSIC MATTERS!!!
By arrangement with Dogz On Parole, Rivethead Magazine is pleased to offer this three-song set for your listening pleasure: