A minute into the Zeds Dead track "In the Beginning," from their EP Adrenaline, just after the wobble bass comes wobbling forth, the whole production halts for a sample. "Oh," says a voice with the unmistakable hiss of 1960s television behind it, "that's unexpected." That was the moment I turned against Zeds Dead. Nothing about this music is unexpected. It's pilot-fish dubstep, swimming in the wake of a larger animal and mimicking its motions for scraps.
As a microgenre, dubstep suffers from no excess of originality. Fortunately, it's young, and the odds of something new happening in any given track are higher. Yet Zeds Dead still takes us on a magical journey to the place where form becomes formula. "Oh No" and the title track follow a predictable alteration between lumbering two-tone bass and trance organtrance organ!that makes it hard to remember what you've listened to already.
It doesn't matter, because you've heard it all. Music is awesome, and Zeds Dead deserves our respect in the same way that certain Renaissance craftsmen who spent their lives repainting Michelangelo deserve respect. If nothing else, they're a reminder that every age has its mannerists.
Zeds Dead plays the Wilma Theatre Mon., April 30, at 8:30 PM. $23. Rockin Rudy's and ticketfly.com.