Some of the world’s very best music is coming out of Greece. And while Athens is certainly a hotbed for excellent tunes, so is Thessaloniki, a city about 300 miles (500 kilometers) north of Athens with a rich history of cultural influence. There, you’ll find Made of Stone Records working with bands like Honeybadger and Narcosis, but you’ll also find Dope Default, an independent Metal band that occasionally dips into Stoner Metal and Grunge for their latest album, Division.
In the past, Dope Default has pulled inspiration from a variety of sources, including Pantera, Metallica, Monster Magnet, and fellow countrymen Planet of Zeus. Within Division, the band digs into their own signature sound, resulting in an album that is as catchy and melodic as it is heavy and exhilarating.
About Dope Default
Based out of Thessaloniki, Greece, Dope Default is a Heavy Groove Metal band that has released two full-length albums before Division: Ofrenda (2018) and Imprisoned (2019).
Dope Default is:
- John Campbell – Vocals
- Makis Georgiou – Bass, Keys
- Dimitris Kolimvanos – Guitars
- George Kontouris – Guitars
- Thodoris Anastasiadis – Drums
Division was mixed and mastered by Thanos Mylanos.
Division Album Review
Release Date: March 3, 2022
Track 1 – Midnight Mass
“Midnight Mass” kicks off the album with far-off bells reminiscent of old Black Sabbath. Channeling the band’s power chord fury with John Campbell’s massive vocals, “Midnight Mass” steadily builds, incorporating elements from a variety of Metal subgenres to deliver a slick opening track.
Track 2 – Future Without
In “Future Without,” we finally get a better sense of Dope Default’s theatrical side. “Future Without” thrives on a wave of power chords and Campbell’s melodic vocals. In the chorus, we get an even better feel for Dope Default’s growth as a band, for we land in a space packed with ear candy.
Track 3 – Duplicity
Surprisingly, “Duplicity” begins with a mysterious and vaguely Psychedelic introduction before breaking into the Metal that has distinguished this album so far, diving into thick, chugging riffs and a powerful chorus that will have you shouting out alongside Campbell and the rest of the band. Eventually, we return to the mysterious Psychedelic side for a brief bridge—before diving into one of the best guitar solos on the album.
Track 4 – Down to Pieces
“Down to Pieces” is the coolest song on the album at this point, and that’s primarily because of Campbell’s bold voice and those intricate guitars riding over a radio-friendly riff. This is a song that sounds like it would be an immediate crowd-pleaser in a live setting. Fittingly, Dope Default gave “Down to Pieces” the single treatment:
Track 5 – The Saint of Killers
Hard-rocking Metal with a tinge of that Nu Metal flavor, “The Saint of Killers” rides on a thick, intricate riff. While the song admittedly lacks the emotional movement of “Down to Pieces,” it’s a serviceable follow-up track.
Track 6 – So Far Away
Like “Duplicity,” “So Far Away” begins with a soothing introduction that breaks from the hard-driving chaos of the rest of the album—until Campbell’s tense vocals kick in. Dramatic and moving, “So Far Away” could have been a second single for its emotional impact and musical complexity, especially with that wavering lead guitar weaving in and out of the song.
Track 7 – One More Time
What could have been a Thrash Metal song is transformed by a mysterious lead guitar and carefully arranged vocals. The most compelling part of “One More Time” is its intriguing breakdown in the second half, so be sure to stick around!
Track 8 – The Hand of Midas
Punchy and well-constructed, this fast-driving song moves like it’s only 2:30—but it runs closer to 4:30. While it moves quickly, that extra time gives Dope Default plenty of room to expand on their ideas within this track, and that’s excellent for the band’s fans. “The Hand of Midas” delivers one of the album’s coolest riffs, and it does so at Thrash Metal speeds. This is another track that could have justly received the single treatment!
Track 9 – Divided
Packed with heavy drums, a haunting Metal riff, and a dual vocal approach, “Divided” is a terrifying song that calls to mind those Alternative Metal bands prominent near the turn of the century—until that awesome transition into the second half of the track.
Final Thoughts On Dope Default’s Division Album
Final Score: 7.5/10
Standout Tracks: “Down to Pieces,” “Duplicity,” and “The Hand of Midas”
Pros: Division delivers a bevy of cool guitar-driven Metal songs with influences from a variety of genres. When Dope Default is rocking at their best, they’re a stunning collection of musicians—and songs like “Down to Pieces” and “The Hand of Midas” demonstrate their ability to craft unique, exciting tunes.
Cons: This won’t be a universally loved album, for one. Dope Default occasionally crosses into the Grunge and Stoner Metal territories, but Division is rooted in the theatrical, emotional side of Heavy Metal, which forces it to align with certain conventions from that genre. In other words: This isn’t your typical Monster Riff fare.
Still, Division offers a strong performance overall. And by tightening up the songwriting even further and focusing on the emotional impact of each song, Dope Default can potentially grow its appeal to a wider audience.