3 Out Of 5 Stars
Producers Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman saw the nascent Blue Oyster Cult sound in The Dictators' voice and made "Manifest Destiny" parallel the early BOC discs. Thick, sludgy guitars, vocals back in the mix and heavy on the reverb. As a result, I really can't give this 5 stars due to the muddy production, but at the same time, this was the album that made me a Dictators fan for life! Why the Dic's haven't been put on the pantheon they deserve is beyond me, but with songs like "Science Gone Too Far" and their blistering cover of The Stooges' "Search And Destroy," they proved they could blast as well as their CBGB contemporaries of the period. And they were not without a sense of humor; just check out the opening lines of "Hey Boys" or Handsome Dick's monologue on "Disease." "Manifest Destiny" is a brilliant artifact of an era in American Music. They followed it up with their masterpiece, "Bloodbrothers," and Sony has been kind enough to leave "Go Girl Crazy!" in print. My advice is get 'em all now and that includes the recent "DFFD" because it still smokes the competition.
Then there's "Bloodbrothers": The Dictators make sure you know exactly what you're in for as soon as the music starts..."Faster And Louder!" This was the most forward of the Dic's three original albums and the closest they came to a mainstream sound. That being if you could call anything The Dictators did "mainstream." Their's was a take no prisoners attitude, with everything about "Bloodbrothers" being so sorely missing in music at the time of its release. In 1978, Punk was just beginning to come into its own and the whole CBGB's crowd was setting their sights on world domination.
That may have been to The Dictators' detriment. In a period when bands were deliberately trying to sound more garagey and nihilistic, Handsome Dick Manitoba and the boys were rocking polished and hard, more like Blue Oyster Cult than the Dead Boys. Despite being "Faster And Louder," this band was not trying to break punk rock's land speed records. A classic case of zigging when they should have zagged. No matter. There were no other bands with this much panache, humor and ballsy fun coming out of NYC, and "Bloodbrothers" spends its nine songs without letting up on the throttle once. If you aren't out of breath by the end of The 'Tators' rip snorting cover of "Slow Death," then you'd better start the record over and start paying attention.
As others have noted, there are "breaks" between the segues on "Bloodbrothers" that someone should have picked up during the mastering process. You can get "Manifest Destiny" as an Auto-rip from Amazon. but not "Bloodbrothers." BB you can get from I-Tunes.