DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo 

Drums of Death

Most metal-electronica or electronica-jazz fusion experiments are born to fail, but one of the luckier scientists is DJ Spooky, a hip New Yorker with more contacts than God. Spooky has a new book and art movie out this year, in addition to this latest musical experiment, a collaboration with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and an obscure lyricist named Chuck D. Drums offers all the thrash-metal, old-school Def Jam hip-hop, and space samples you could want, but the creative lines don't quite fuse as promised -- the more solid tracks veer hard into one genre or the other. It takes Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid's guest spot on "The Art of War" to rally the factions: His wah-wah pedal and digitally delayed guitar notes coil around Spooky's massaged bleep-bloops and Lombardo's cymbal work. It's a nimble, one-of-a-kind beast, changing tempo and mood, and succeeding where Death's other hybrid tracks fail. Such is the price of progress.

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