Asian Dub Foundation: A History of Now (Cooking Vinyl)

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Asian Dub Foundation: In Another Life
Asian Dub Foundation: A History of Now (Cooking Vinyl)

Nobody would thank you for being so politically incorrect as to observe that much of this is just a politicised Asian-British version of nu-metal: lots of raging against the machine; rock guitars colliding with white-knuckle rap (with tabla); plenty of socio-political sloganeering (the title track which yells "you can't download me" and "living the history of now", which might require a footnote); the fair-enough and rather timeless question Where Has All the Money Gone . . .

But of course in other ears such permanently angry, occasionally apocalyptic fury gives the long-running ADF some kind of global reach, although it needs to be said selling anger to the disenfranchised isn't that difficult. 

Much as British critics have wanted to like this, you only need to read between the lines of reviews see what might be called special pleading taking place. Much of this isn't as necessary as many would have you believe.

But . . .

The exceptional In Another Life weaves through superb programming, dub dynamics, crashing guitar chords and Indo-jazz percussion and self-questioning. It is an absolute standout amidst much of the sound and fury (which too often are just signifiers of, if not nothing then little more than unfocused indignation and anger).

That this seminal ADF track is followed by a reflective instrumental (Power of 10) suggests they knew the emotional power of it, and that it might be the defining moment here.

The global nu-metal/rap-rock begins again thereafter so the terrific, energetic and percussion-driven collaboration with the pan-Leftist Indigeneous Resistance on This Land is Not For Sale is lost in the closing third unfortunately. But that is where this album really begins.

Start with In Another Life and follow on through, then loop back to the start from there and this album makes much more sense as the polemics take second place to genuinely combustible and transferable passion.

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andrei - May 3, 2011

great song and awesome band, keep it up, guys.

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