Substance D

F.A.D. Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


It's the best metal drumming I've heard since Rush and Metallica and Dream Theater and Van Halen and Pantera and I know I'm forgetting someone.

Oh yeah: Mick Brown in Dokken (NOT!!!!)

The next time I hear a disc that I can't take out of my player, like Substance D's Black, T.M. Burr will be added to this list. What a black world this band seems to live in!

Substance D plays a White Zombie mixed with Pantera styled aggressive brand of heavy metal. The White Zombie influence comes in the vocal style of the early songs and the Pantera comes in the drumming phenom of T.M. Burr. Burr gets credit for holding the band together in the outrageously heavy "F.B.I.," an abbreviation for "Fucking Bad Intentions."

What is it about Burr? On "Slit The Wrist," his groove is hypnotizing with a chug chugging feel. His toms are tuned perfectly and his snare is deep and resounding. He means it with every stroke. There is intensity in the way he smashes his cymbals.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Then there's the best track, the outrageously heavy "F.B.I.." Burr gets credit for holding the band together with maniac-styled pounding on his snare in a country style shuffle.

And on "F.B.I.," there's a guest vocalist. Has to be. If I didn't know my 80s metal, I would have no idea who it is, but I've studied my 80s metal and have concluded that there is a clone of Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) alive. Either that or Burr or guitarist Michael Parnin has a voice that sounds just like Bas. That's not a criticism, I think it sounds great!

Another strange track is "Strange 48" which starts with some dialogue. The doorbell rings. "Did you bring the beer?" "No, I told you to get some." "Let's play hockey and then get some." "Let's get some now."

Then the speakers leave.

There is a brief pause before lead vocalist Chaisson begins a gut-wrenchingly slow despairing song about how "The past two nights have been the same fucked up day/ A damn strange 48." This song sounds similar to Pantera's "Suicide Note Part I" on The Great Southern Trendkill. There are no drums and it the song is played on an acoustic guitar. It provides the contrast the band needs to remain interesting.

"Dark Gift" returns Burr to the sound with a slow (for Substance D) track. His groove is locked in tight with bassist Chaisson.

The disc ends with a couple of 'hidden tracks,' the last of which is a series of phone messages played over a heavy guitar riff. Burr is phenomenal, as normal. The phone messages have to deal with one of the band members (and I think it was Burr, I'm not sure), who was put in jail. A girl keeps calling, telling "Todd" 'to get up off your fucking goddamn pillow or blanket or whatever and answer the goddamn fucking phone!" Her messages are peppered with 'fuck.' The messages tell an amazing story about the person having the keys to the car being in jail so the girl and 'Michael' are stuck in "Anafuckingheim." (Substance D call Los Angeles their home.)

The point is Substance D is the most excellent band I have heard in a long time! Burr's drumming is amazingly smart with his grooves and fills. It is your duty, if you like heavy metal, to get out to (or through the band at 3393 Bennet Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068 ) and find out more about this band. Eventually, everyone will hear about them, they'll go alternative and then they'll suck.

But today in November, 1998? Substance D is the best thing going in the metal world.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1998 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of F.A.D. Records, and is used for informational purposes only.