Smile Politely

Review: Dino Bravo’s s/t/d

When I was first told about Dino Bravo (“they’re a wrestling band”), I was tempted to ignore them. You see, for reasons I won’t go into in this review, I fucking hate wrestling. A duo consisting of Ivan Catron on bass and Jake Mott on drums, the group formed earlier this year, playing their first live shows — known to feature costumes, referees and piledrivers — early this summer. I initally assigned them mental side-project status (both members also play in Bad Catman, and Mott sings for the Diamond Stretch), but upon hearing s/t/d it’s clear that these guys are for real.

The EP kicks off with two shorter tracks (“Kevin Nash vs. the Definition of Adjective” and “24/7 Hardcore Title Defense”) that seem designed as more of a primer, both sticking to spastic hardcore via Lightning Bolt riffs and thrashy rhythms. Their strength here is in the songs’ brevity — add a third and things would start getting repetitive. Thankfully, there are ample change-ups in the EP’s fantastic second half.

Each clocking in at around seven minutes, the EP’s other two songs make the admission price worth it. “Bruno Sammartino’s Title Reigns” is easily the slowest and least chaotic track present, although it still packs a major punch. However, the standout here is “Randy Savage Tribute”, a skyscraper of a song that features one of the hugest (and catchiest) riffs I can ever remember hearing (listen below at 4:25). Seriously, this shit puts “Dragonaut” to shame.

It certainly helps that the everything is so well-recorded. There’s just enough ambient/live sound to reinforce the impression that these are live takes, and you can nearly imagine being a fly on the wall during tracking. The distortion and throbbing drums are captured in full glory (on my digital copy, at least — can’t comment on the tape), all the better for a sludge record.

Ultimately, despite any inborn bias of my own, I’m forced to acknowledge that Dino Bravo have a devotion to wrestling that goes far beyond your average fandom. They wouldn’t sound so impassioned and off the rails if they didn’t.

s/t/d is available on cassette from the Error Records website and digitally on Bandcamp.

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