Dr. Israel and Dreadtone International Patterns of War

2005 is a big comeback year for Dr. Israel. Long a player in New York's dub scene, his Inna City Pressure (reissued by ROIR this past summer) was hands down the best Crooklyn jungle/dub/illbient record released in the ’90s. While he’s remained active in the scene since then, this is his first long player in three years. The promo for this album describes it as "Massive Attack meets the Fugees.” Other than the near-operatic female vocals that dominate the album, it’s hard to tell where the Fugees fit into the equation; the rhythmic sensibility is Bristolian through and through. The mood shifts between heavy and heavier, but there are lots of vocal hooks and percussion tracks to nice up the rhythms. Lady K and Chemda have regal voices, so much so that they dominate the mix at times. But when there’s a good balance of vox and riddim, as in the first single "Tetze,” it’s massive. Compared to the junglist energy that gave so much edge to Inna City Pressure, this album seems sedate until an angry track with ace dub ensemble Systemwide breaks out. On the whole, the songwriting is excellent and the three dub workouts at the end are very worthwhile. Nevertheless, don’t sleep on Inna City Pressure — it’s a true classic that may be out of print again soon. (ROIR)