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Starting Over

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Album Review

Originally released in 1984, Dwarr’s debut album, the oddly titled Starting Over, is a heavy metal artifact that’s unlike any other with a legend that’s as strange as the album itself. The singular vision of Duane Warr, who at the time was a factory worker in South Carolina, the album was written and recorded completely by Warr (save for the percussion), who then pressed up 1,000 copies of the album on his own and self-released it before, as legend would have it, he burned the remaining copies after becoming a born-again Christian in 1993. Seemingly relegated to obscurity, the album sat unnoticed by all but the most dedicated metal crate-diggers until the good people at Drag City decided to reissue the album, finally giving the world the chance to experience this odd piece of doomy psychedelia firsthand. With a combination of amateurishness and bold experimentation, Starting Over is a perfectly realized example of a man’s reach exceeding his grasp, with the atmospheric qualities of the album at once enhanced and betrayed by the brittleness of its production. That said, the quality that really makes an album like this worth listening to is its ambition. Warr was a young guy with a vision, and rather than be limited by the technology of his age or the interests of the people around him, he set about making something that, almost two decades later, still defies explanation. Whether he was aware that he was melding the sonic aesthetics of what was at the time a burgeoning black metal scene with the acid-blasted atmospherics of psychedelic rock and prog, we’ll never know, but coming from a time before the Internet made the world such a tiny place, you have to give the guy credit for trying.

Biography

Born: Columbia, SC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '00s, '10s

An outsider in an already left-of-center genre, Duane Warr, better known by recording moniker Dwarr, began his journey into the annals of musical obscurity as a factory worker with dreams of making it big in Columbia, South Carolina. His music is an eccentric combination of psychedelic rock and doom metal, drawing from influences like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and Pentagram to create an atmospheric and riff-oriented sound made all the stranger by occasional bursts of piano and saxophone. In what...
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Starting Over, Dwarr
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