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Dirty Shirt - Letchology review

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Band: Dirty Shirt
Album: Letchology
Release date: March 2019

01. Latcho Drom
02. Pălinca [feat. Mat "Boots" Di Pilla]
03. Put It On
04. Fake
05. Nem Loptam
06. Hora Lentă
07. Killing Spree
08. Nice Song
09. Starea Naţiei

Somehow, Dirty Shirt found themselves with the label "crossover folk metal," the only band on our site to be so graced. I don't know where that tag came from, but it seems appropriate - after all, Letchology is a big cluster of sounds you don't usually find in folk metal. Or metal in general.

Letchology perfectly captures the sound of a nu metal band crashing a rave at your grandpa's goat farm. It's like the time Uncle Avi brought his trumpet to your bar mitzvah and started skanking in the middle of the horah. It's like the cantina band from Star Wars* if they were sweaty skate punks fighting over the last tin of rakia. Dirty Shirt cartwheel through style after style with the aid of metalcore riffing, variations on clean and harsh vocals, folk-inspired horn flourishes, pop-punk choruses, and any other small aside that seems appropriate. Swatches of Romanian sounds and heavy metal remain in such abundance that "folk metal" still comes to mind first when I think of Dirty Shirt, but a lot of sweat, brass, and strength training has gone into crafting this strange array of songs. As much as folk, I'd reach for a Destrage-style spastic and catchy metalcore or a Weird Al genre pastiche when describing this form of Dirty Shirt.

Opener "Latcho Drom" kidnaps Trollfest and squeezes them into a raunchy maelstrom that is probably my favorite folk metal tune of 2019 so far. Then we dive right into "Pălinca," a musclebound hardcore track whose constant breakdown and semi-rapped guest vocals from one Mat "Boots" di Pilla make it the anthem to a different sort of party from "Latcho Drom" - but it still doesn't shy away from the traditional melodies and goofy backing vocals, which only make the whole experience more confusing. "Pălinca" is in turn rapidly contradicted by "Put It On," which is unusually violent for a ska track and claims aggressively to represent the East Side (of Europe?). The album continues down this path, manifesting its fear of stagnation in the funky (and very nice) "Nice Song," the slightly electronic "Killing Spree," and the odd spritzes of so many other sounds that surface around every corner.

Letchology has a much thicker, heavier sound than Dirtylicious, whose folk influences were much more in evidence; this album prefers raw impact in its outright metal aspects. The shades of Rage Against The Machine that could be found in abundance on the band's earlier material have intensified into full-on chugging nu metal more reminiscent of Cavalera-core, abetted by an amplification of Dirty Shirt's crassest and silliest elements. At the same time, it can be very sly and hypnotic when addressing its folk side, rather jazzy and calmly melodic, which creates a contrast within the album that never gets old. At half an hour in length, Letchology is a quick and clean listen; it's an album you could throw on a few times in succession and use for any party, christening, roller derby, Guy Ritchie film, or, I don't know, a metal show or something dumb like that. I've found myself idly spinning it a lot more than I really had to; I'll probably just keep the tab open and listen to it once a day even after this review is published.

Let's dirty up that shirt, shall we?


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Written on 26.04.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 88 users
26.04.2019 - 05:42
Also, they've been performing quite often with an entire traditional folk orchestra
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

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02.05.2019 - 04:49

Written by RaduP on 26.04.2019 at 05:42

Also, they've been performing quite often with an entire traditional folk orchestra

That was amazing! Made me want to be there.
05.05.2019 - 03:10

Great review. Totally nailed it. Didn't expect to like the album, but loved it!! Weird Al reference is bang on and yet doesn't take away from this total creative metal assault. Brilliant album.

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