Dino Campanella (drums, keys)
Mark Engles (guitar)
Gavin Hayes (vocals, guitar)
Drew Roulette (bass, moog, speak & spell, samples)
Dredg specializes in meaningful contradictions: they’re at once aggressive and beautiful, visceral and thoughtful. Dredg has blurred boundaries since their inception in 1993 but The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion puts their skills in dramatic relief, combining all the raw power of their earliest records with the epic sweep of El Cielo and exceptional songwriting of Catch Without Arms. It’s a statement of purpose that finds the Californian quartet embracing their new status as independent rockers, relishing the opportunity to try ideas that have been percolating for years.
The Pariah The Parrot The Delusion defies the notion of conventional rock in its sound and in its substance. Far from being a typical rock album, The Pariah is diverse and textured, driven by rhythms as much as guitars. Inspired in part by Salman Rushdie’s essay “Imagine There´s No Heaven: A Letter to the 6 Billionth Citizen,” a piece guitarist Mark Engles discovered when reading Christopher Hitchens’ The Portable Atheist. Dredg seized the idea of capturing the madness of this modern world, particularly its battles over religion and science, within a musical missive to the future. Fittingly, The Pariah is packaged and constructed like a letter, its songs and instrumental interludes connected by eerie, evocative Wurlitzer piano-and-voice segments called Stamps Of Origin. These Stamps Of Origin are just one indication of the musical risks that Dredg takes here with the assistance of producer Matt Radosevich. "Dredg is a band that looks at the recording process as limitless" says Radosevich. "They constantly want to push for a new sound. We worked at the record for seven months but it never felt like we were not being productive – it´s the fact that the band is so meticulous about what they want to do. It´s sort of an anomaly in music today." This experimental bent doesn’t mean that The Pariah The Parrot is a refined art-rock record – far from it. “It’s rough around the edges and loose in areas like our old stuff,” says guitarist Mark Engles. These intentional imperfections expands the scope of the album, letting in some of the mellowest moments Dredg has ever had on record along with some of their harshest.
This fearlessness hearkens back to when the band were in high school in the mid-‘90s, when the band was jamming in their parents backrooms. After graduation their sound – equal parts punk aggression and metallic complexity -- began to gel, first on two self-released EPs then on their independent 1998 debut, Leitmotif, an album that threaded melody into their heavy sound. Leitmotif earned attention outside of the Bay Area and brought them to Interscope Records, who signed the band and re-released the album in 2001. Dredg supported the major-label release of Leitmotif with an international tour and then took full advantage of their major-label status with 2002´s El Cielo, an album decidedly more ambitious in its concept and instrumentation. Inspired by a painting by Salvador Dali depicting sleep paralysis, El Cielo found the band breaking away from the pack, getting dark and atmospheric.
Dredg responded to the density of El Cielo by stripping back to basics for 2005’s Catch Without Arms, focusing on songwriting over concept and working with producer Terry Date. Again, the band supported the album with an extensive tour that was documented on the 2006 CD/DVD set Live at the Fillmore.
As Dredg worked on their sequel to Catch Without Arms, the individual members stayed busy with extracurricular projects, notably a series of soundtracks. Engles and Dino Campanella scored the 2005 independent film Waterborne, while Campanella scored the ´06 comedy Carbabes on his own; Hayes also collaborated with founding Queensryche guitarist Chris DeGarmo for music for the ´06 film Expiration Date. These projects are only one indication of all the creative energy spilling out from the band: Hayes has toured numerous times as a vocalist for Dan the Automator (who also remixed Dredg´s "Sangreal"); Hayes and Drew Roulette are accomplished painters whose work has graced Dredg´s records and merchandise. Roulette has also designed album art for many other bands, and he and Hayes contributed lyrics to the experimental rockers The Sounds of Animals Fighting
Every one of these artistic obsessions is evident on The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion, an album that rewards close inspection of its sounds, its lyrics and artwork. It can sound bracingly raw yet it has a cinematic sweep; it´s the perfect balance searing ballast of Catch Without Arms and the operatic ambition of El Cielo. It´s the album Dredg has been working toward their entire career.