Monday, February 28, 2011

D.R.U.G.S. - Debut Album Review

Craig Owens had a lot of weight on his shoulders this past year. After being booted from Chiodos, the singer was adamant on making a return to music with a new band and new record capable of turning some heads. And now, after the release of his band, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows' (D.R.U.G.S.), first album, it's clear that Owens has shed his past and is putting his music first and foremost.

D.R.U.G.S. is composed of ex-members of Chiodos, Story Of The Year, From First To Last, Matchbook Romance and Underminded. The five-piece decided to enlist the forces of John Feldmann (The Used, Atreyu, Saosin) as the producer for their debut album. Feldmann, having worked with some of the best punk and alternative bands out there today, helped put together a record that will undoubtedly appeal to fans across the board.

The album opens with "If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is", an anthemic track showing both the heavy side and catchiness this band are capable of. Owens' scathing lyrics seamlessly tear apart broken relationships with friends and lovers. "Today was the day you tried to shut me down. / Be honest, / did you ever mention my name? / Did you get sick of the shame? / Did you lie on your back like a whore?"

And the record doesn't slow down from there. Track two may sound familiar to Chiodos fans. Lyrically, "The Only Thing You Talk About" is Chiodos' "Thermacare" set to new music. (Chiodos' "Stratovolcano Mouth" consists of "Thermacare's" old music with new lyrics) It actually works better for the song in this instance, and proves to be one of the heaviest pieces on the record.

Some of D.R.U.G.S.' best work, though, comes during the middle of the album. "Laminated E.T. Animal" is packed with hooks that express the band's deep knowledge of turning a heavy rock song into something catchy - without losing sight of what made the song heavy in the first place.

After eight post-hardcore tracks of consistent screaming, chugging guitars and a double-kick bass drum, you get "I'm Here To Take The Sky" - a pop-punk-esque tune that could pass as radio friendly. It's probably one of the strongest songs on the album, but it can feel funny amongst so many other hard and driving tunes. Nevertheless, it's one you'll be playing on repeat.

Though the entirety of this album is reminiscent of other essential albums like The Used's Lies For The Liars, it does have its weak points. "Sex Life" feels a little unrelatable lyrically. Musically, it also lacks. The verses are the song's strongest attributes leaving the chorus pitchy and discordant.

Overall though, the self-titled debut record from D.R.U.G.S. easily stands as one of the best releases of the year so far. This is the record, and the band, the scene has been missing.

You can catch D.R.U.G.S. on tour this Spring both in the United Kingdom and United States.

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