Dub War – Westgate under Fire (Review)

Dub War - Westgate under FireDub War are a metal band from the UK and this is their third album.

Combining metal, punk, hip hop, and reggae influences into their groundbreaking style, I had a lot of time for Dub War in the 90s. As such, it’s an unexpected treat to have some new material from them. Westgate Under Fire gives us 48 minutes of multifaceted musical mayhem.

In some ways I swear it’s like Dub War haven’t been away at all. The band’s sound is so striking, energetic, and instantly familiar that it’s like I’m transported back to the mid 90s once more. The lyrics and themes may have been updated for the contemporary era, but the sound is essentially straight from the 90s. This is no bad thing at all as far as I’m concerned. Having said that, the band’s layered sound is now more mixed together than ever, with the various influences playing off, fuelling, and competing with each other almost constantly. The songs are well-written, fun to listen to, and insanely catchy.

Westgate under Fire is a very varied record, with the band’s clash of styles providing ample opportunity to delve into all manner of different ideas and creative urges. Punk, metal, rock, nu-metal, reggae, hip hop, and anything else they can get their hands on get thrown into the Dub War blender, resulting in a collection of tracks that are impressively diverse. Most songs have a prime focus, but they’re never, ever only just one thing. Further enriched by a range of guests, (Faith No More, Ill Niño, In Flames, Killing Joke, Snot, Stone Sour, The Beat), and two covers, (Al Green, Max Romeo and the Upsetters), and you have an album that keeps on giving.

The highlight is undoubtedly the band’s talented singer. No matter the style, no matter what the music calls for, he absolutely nails his performances. I think he pretty much delivers nearly every vocal style I can think of on this album at one point or another.

Westgate under Fire is an exercise in nostalgia that’s nonetheless still 100% relevant today. Dub War have lost none of their fiery talent, and their return is great news for anyone that likes diverse, fun music.

Very highly recommended.

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