Though the band has been active in the Tokyo scene for fifteen years, Essential Sounds From the Far East
is DMBQ’s first American release. It’s no coincidence that Estrus timed
it to correspond with the band’s U.S. tour. Live, DMBQ (Dynamite
Masters Blues Quartet) is absolutely phenomenal, an over-the-top tour
de force packed with impeccably executed rock-star maneuvers. The show
culminates in a mind-blowing finale that features both the band and
their instruments surfing through the crowd. Do not miss it.
Unfortunately, Essential Sounds From the Far East doesn’t
live up to that. Without accompanying visuals, these ten tracks of
high-volume, high-end rawk chaos get monotonous and grating fairly
quickly. There are highlights, to be sure, particularly the
Zeppelin-esque “Mirror Baby” and the Sabbath-indebted “Nothing” (like
many Japanese acts, the members of DMBQ wear their influences on their
sleeves). But for those not already familiar with the band’s incredible
live act, it may be hard to understand what the buzz is about.