Dispraised is back with “Lines in the Dirt”. For those not familiar with them, Dispraised is an international punk band built around the collaborative duo of vocalist Tom Mong and guitarist Donovan de Necker. Their mutual interest in punk music and their faith led them to work on something special for the Christian punk community.
In 2020 they independently released a mini-EP, “Same God Modern World”. Before taking on their next recording project, they fired the drum machine and recruited live drummer, Justin Ram (Grave Robber, Jericho Harlot). The trio recorded and released their debut album “Moral Rot” on Rottweiler Records in 2021 (Our review is here). Less than a year later, they released “Lines in the Dirt.”
The first couple of seconds was all it took to get me slamming into anyone nearby. It is rowdy, it is fast, it is unapologetic. The music feels old-school but with a proto-speed metal twist with the guitar riffs and the raging drums. Instruments provide musical texture for the lyrics to be yelled out with the welcome occasional instrumental break. It felt like I was in a car driven recklessly through side streets of a city holding on for dear life!
The creative focus is the lyrical message which is defiant, confrontational, and politically-incorrect. The focus of their rage is around social issues that have come to the forefront in recent years such as invasion of privacy, powers of the state, and propaganda via mainstream media. But it isn’t without pointing to Christ as their king in defiance to the world powers.
Tom’s vocals are rhythmically precise with a hint of a melody at times. It was reminiscent of Tourniquet’s “Microscopic View…” and much of Sleeping Giant’s catalog. Donovan’s rhythm guitar uses fast palm-muted picking and natural harmonics a la 80’s thrash metal. The lead guitar is minimal, but comes through in just the right places on emotionally charged refrains and the solo bass parts add a cool factor to songs. Justin’s drums provide a solid rhythmic foundation with drum fills to keep things interesting.
The quality of the songwriting starts out strong with the first three tracks. “No King but Christ” is an anthem proclaiming Christ as king above all other rulers. I really appreciate the breakdown in the middle of the song. “Silent Voices” is an inspiring and uplifting song about the importance of each one of us as a child of God. The spoken word performance at the end is especially empowering. “Jab” takes on the radioactive subject of the COVID vaccine and the imposition on the masses.
The rest of the songs are pretty solid songs, but were less interesting musically than the first three. They also are much shorter coming across somewhat as album filler. Still good, but didn’t capture me like the first three.
The only other point I’d say is that this is a short album. At 16 minutes, even for punk this feels short. Having released this less than a year after “Moral Rot,” I might have opted to wait for a couple more songs to incubate (or the last couple to develop a little more).
In the end, “Lines in the Dirt” succeeds in its mission. It is old-school punk with its foot on the accelerator standing up against the state of the world, the Cross in hand. What isn’t to love?! Dispraised has recently signed to Thumper Punk Records, which signals there is more to expect from them in the future. Looking forward to it!
Written by Sean Bailey
1 – No King but Christ
2 – Silent Voices
3 – Jab
4 – Social Disease
5 – Cyber Slave
6 – The Masses
7 – Set to Self Destruct
8 – Amongst the Swine
Tom Mong – vocals
Donovan de Necker – guitars and bass
Justin Ram – drums
Release Date: September 9, 2022
Record Label: Rottweiler Records
2020: “Same God Modern World”
2021: Moral Rot” (review)
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Lyric video for ‘Jab’