Few bands in the world could go nearly 20 years with only one single ever getting into the top 40 and still bring out music infused with such passion. Dreadzone, though, are unlike any other band in the world. The Londoners formed in 1993 and have produced a series of singles ever since in their indefinable style.
The group’s biggest claim to fame is generally cited as once having the likes of Denise Van Outen and Melanie Blatt as former backing singers, with this somehow being seen as a bigger achievement than the fact Dreadzone have performed at Glastonbury many times in their 18 years as a band.
The last time they were in the charts was in the mid ’90s but they somehow still find inspiration to continue on their creative path, making a hybrid of dance and reggae, wrapped up in a genuine feel-good factor. With sentiments like “No trouble in the yard, it’s not about your religion, your sex or your race if the music comes from your heart”, it is hard not to enjoy their music.
Dreadzone’s tunes are a mix of positive lyrics (coming from MC Spee) and the reggae roots synthesiser sound, mixed with up-tempo drum rhythms and often laced over a techno beat, with loads of samples from absolutely anything (from inspirational speeches to Irish folk music) thrown in for good measure. It may sound like the strangest combination since Shane Warne and Elizabeth Hurley but it is what makes Dreadzone so unique and is why their music is still appealing today.
Dreadzone come from a mindset where they are making songs that they feel will enlighten people. Tunes that showcase the very best of Dreadzone are The Good, The Bad And The Dread, American Dread and their own take on the much celebrated Chase The Devil by Max Romeo, Iron Shirt. It was only a matter of time before Dreadzone did their own version of that particular track because with their positive vibes and peace-and-love message, it seems they are trying to chase Satan from the Earth.
Any of the tracks on this album could get your toe tapping, and some of the lyrics are just too damn nice to be hated: “I know your secrets and I know your fears, I know the reason why you shed your tears, now it’s time to get up and start anew, but no one can do it apart from you”. Up-tempo, uplifting and up there with some of London’s very best, Dreadzone are a true representation of the most cosmopolitan city on earth. The Good, The Bad & The Dread is a good listen for anyone with an interest in feeling happy.