Friday, November 19, 2010

No, It Ain't The Pink Floyd Album

DWARR – “Animals” CD ‘86/’10 (Drag City, US) – Is anybody else reading this old enough to remember the tape trading days? That’s right, I said tape trading? I’m sure right now a couple of the young whippersnappers are scratching their heads, saying to themselves “Hmm, tape trading? What did y’all do, Ray, head on down to Office Depot and hang out in the 3M Aisle? Hey, I’ll give you a dispenser of double-sided adhesive for two rolls of half-inch masking? Boring days, eh, Ray?” Ok smart asses, enough. By tape trading, I’m not talking about a bunch of Staples groupies huffing Elmers. I’m pining for the times of waiting by the mailbox for a packet to emerge replete with the joys of a TDK-D90 loaded to the brim with 2 rare albums I could never hope to afford otherwise. But, slip that baby in the blaster and I was ushered into a world of…well, things like DWARR. One of my very favorite trading compatriots was a wonderful guy who, sadly is no longer with us, a buddy from Virginia named Nigel Fellers. Nigel had a vast library and knowledge of not only doom metal, but all things remotely associated with it, stretching the boundaries of hard rock, heavy prog, dark avant and whatever else. It was he who introduced me into the world of South Carolinian Duane Warr with one of those D-90’s labeled DWARR – “Starting Over” / “Animals.”

Now while it was true that “Starting Over” was the debut record released by Duane Warr, it became clear to me very quickly that the man’s sophomore effort “Animals” was definitely “the one.” Nigel, in fact, had even made a note in the package he’d sent that I remember like the day I got it those many years ago: “Ray, I know you love Paul Chain. Listen to ‘Animals!’” I did…and listened again…and again…and again. This is how it is, so listen closely people. “Animals” is without question, one of the most unique 40-some minutes of heavy music you’re ever going to hear. If you’re familiar with Italian doom monster Chain, you may have a point to jump from. So let’s just say our boy Paul C took a trip to the U.S. and found himself in some non-descript town in South Carolina in the ‘80’s. It’s fun to imagine that he wandered out of town, down some suburban street on the other side of the tracks and found himself in the last house on the left, surrounded by jacked-up Chevy Novas and some talk weeds…and some other…um…good weed, not to mention some other controlled materials. He was welcomed into the house by our friend Duane and was heard to comment, “Dang, son but your house is kinda listing to the one side there.” (Odd accent for an Italian guy, but help me out here, it makes this concocted story more fun). Mr. WARR was then heard to say, “Yeah, that’s true, it’s the weight of all the Marshalls in that room making it sag.” And without a further comment, PC was seen to vanish right back into thin air yet he left young Duane imbued with his spirit, wherein he really did become an otherworldly rawk demon called DWARR. He then proceeded to inscribe this dark unholy racket onto tape, these 13 texts of metallic horror that now inhabit the CD you’re holding. Now if all things hi-fi and hi-tech are your prerequisite for having a good time, I have two things to say: 1) my sympathies to your girlfriend 2) you ain’t gonna like this. This stuff sounds like it was recorded in a house…and a haunted one, for that matter. And that’s half the appeal. The ramshackle, backwoods production only serves to amplify the psychedelic frenzy and desperation of this music. And “desperation” is a key word. This album sounds as though it was made with every bit of Mr. WARR’s life on the line. This is metal in some sense, but not until it’s been run through something so dark, bizarre and utterly freaky that it will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck. It’s not fast, it’s not thrash…it’s just harrowing. The cavernous vocals and, frankly, absolutely ripping lead guitar that makes many appearances only serve to deepen the darkness that just oozed from “Animals” collective soul. It’s a real snapshot of a guy who was exorcising SOMETHING or at least trying to. The fact that Duane completed this project on his own (with some session percussion from Ron Sparks) only makes it’s genuine passion that much more impressive.

Simply put, if you are a fan of heavy music and have a taste that runs toward the decidedly dark, deep and disturbing end of things, these are some “Animals” you’re going to need to track down. Some Kind Of Monster Ray Dorsey

NOTE: Word has it that after the recording of “Animals” Duane Warr became a very religious man. He continued to record music and produced at least 2 more DWARR releases, namely “Holy One” and “Times Of Terror.” I haven’t heard these 2 yet, but I’m thinking they’d be worth checking out. “Starting Over,” while not on the order of this mutha, surely is.


B said...

Fyi: All instruments on the 'Animals' album were performed by Duane. Ron Sparks did the percussion on the debut album 'Starting Over'. It was soon after the video production of 'Are You Real' from the 'Animals' album that Duane found the answer to the question in the songs title and found God in Jesus Christ.

B said...

After review of the re-released 'Animals' album and speaking to Duane I realized that Ron Sparks did do the percussions on the 'Animals' album. It wasn't until later recordings that DWARR took the reigns as drummer. Sorry for the mistake in my earlier comment.

raysrealm said...

Hey, man, no problem at all. I'm just glad people are reading this stuff with enough enthusiasm to want to comment and talk about it. Keep spreading the word!