Dredg, The Dear Hunter, Balance of Composure, The Trophy Fire

They may boast a name that suggests a death metal band that just can't spell, but California's Dredg are actually an experimental rock quartet out of California that play music of a rather singular variety. For more than 15 years, the band defied easy description by playing an intriguing amalgam of progressive metal and psychedelic rock. Songs ebb and flow with harsh passages followed by mellow respites that succeed on a scale that is both inspiring and intimidating.

"Some people have called our stuff boring," says guitarist Mark Engles from a tour stop in Salt Lake City. "Every time you take a little turn, some people love it and some people hate it."

On the band's recently released fifth effort, Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, Dredg decided to take a really big turn and let hip-hop producer Dan the Automator have a go behind the soundboard. The resulting album, while fascinating, has received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. Engles is unapologetic about Dredg's new sound, though.

"We did go in a different direction, although most of it is due to the production," he says. "Look: We just wanted to make music with our friend and the songs are our songs, just produced a bit differently."

Engles may be oversimplifying things just a bit, though, as the danceable beats on songs such as "Another Tribe" and "The Tent" are sure to throw some fans for a loop.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers