Dalek | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Rap metal didn't have to suck. Hip-hop and heavy metal are equally capable of being both visceral and cerebral, so theoretically they should work together just fine. Unfortunately, Limp Bizkit and their ilk spent the 90s begging for a new version of a dictum Lou Reed made about fusion in the 70s: "If you can't play good rock 'n' roll and you can't play good jazz, put them together and you get a real piece of shit." The New Jersey trio Dalek (pronounced like "dialect") is capable of single-handedly redeeming the concept. Not that they limit themselves to two genres: they reach into prog-avant realms too, and the mix messes with both your speakers and your head. It's like the first time you heard Pink Floyd and the first time you heard Public Enemy combined. Their 2002 album, From Filthy Tongue of God and Griots, was challenging and overwhelming enough, but it only hinted at the tangled, trippy spirals of words and drones on their new Absence (Ipecac). The ringing, searing gothic guitars on "Culture for Dollars" sound like a human voice wailing and keening; touches like that make Dalek sound like they're the only ones who know how to use color in a monochrome world. Small Bathroom Fire and the Drastics open. Thu 2/24, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+.

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