The follow up to 2005’s stellar “Catch Without Arms” is finally here, and while “The Pariah, The Parot, and The Delusion” won’t be winning over any non-believers, it certainly shouldn’t be a disappointment for current fans.
The band takes little risks with this release, undoubtedly in light of their obvious predicament. After releasing one conceptual masterpiece, “El Cielo,” and the more straight-forward but equally as satisfying “Catch Without Arms,” the band must have been concerned with how one finds balance between both albums while keeping everyone happy.
The new album manages to find that balance. Fans of the earlier work will be relieved to know that dredg hasn’t gone in a more commercial direction; which, if I remember correctly, was a big concern for some after the last release.
The songs on the record should get better with age, unlike the immediately good but quick staling ones off of “Catch Without Arms.” Also, the experimental edge missing from the last release is back in full-swing; Indeed, “The Pariah, The Parrot, and The Delusion” is perhaps dredg’s most experimental record to date.
Of course, there’s a flipside. Despite sharing a “Brushtrokes” type interlude technique (here, they’re called “Stamps of Origin”), the conceptual aspect seems to be existent only on the surface. The album never reaches the conceptual heights of “El Cielo,” and if there’s some deeper theme to delve into here, it’s blown right past me. You won’t find the diversity of the previous albums here, either. For the most part, the songs all carry the same moods and move at the same tempos.
The album isn’t bad by any means. It’s just not the aesthetic statement fans are likely waiting for after four years of vacationing. Still, there’s something here for everyone- U2’s-esque soundscaping guitar solos, more experimentation with different sounds than the last Radiohead album, and a more heartfelt aesthetic approach than that of–well– any Tool album. It could be that the album takes to few risks; low points are as few and far between as ever, but the highs aren’t nearly as high as on previously releases. It may also just be that dredg just isn’t the sort of band that can afford to wait almost half a decade between albums.
I give “The Pariah, The Parrot, and the Delusion” an 90/100, or 4.5/5; rounding up to 5/5.