UK/LA industrial rockers DROWND have kept us all wanting more ever since emerging this past spring with their EPs Sick Like You and Stay Away, the latter of which includes remixes by their Armalyte Records peers, The Joy Thieves and Seething Akira. Frontman/bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Joe Crudgington has taken everything we love about industrial rock and packed it to exploding point in this delightfully heavy debut album.
It starts out innocently enough with “Lost” serving as an atmospheric instrumental intro, then cascades into “Now You Know” with pounding drums and gritty synths. Crudgington’s vocals are front and center and heavy as hell, while ruthless guitars build the tension. If like me you’ve longed for the days of guitar-driven industrial music, this will strike the right chord literally. Yet the album still has plenty of moments of melody and finesse, as well as a foray into a more electro/trap sound with the bass-heavy “Burn”, which showcases Crudgington’s versatility as a songwriter perfectly. Another standout is the thrash-tactic “Too Far Gone,” which has massive drums and emotion to match. The album is nicely balanced by the tranquil intro to “Cold”, letting us down gently for mere seconds before we’re swept up again into brutality. That bass-heavy trap-style kick makes an appearance again and it suits the song perfectly and creates incredible contrast with the synths at the upper end of the mix. The last track, “I Know”, sums up the DROWND sound perfectly, playing with opposites and still packing a serious punch with a huge chorus.
This album is everything I’ve hoped for from a band which takes a little bit from many genres and throws it into a blender with nice crunchy guitars. It’s raw and full of feeling with dynamic range for days and is a must-have from a label that has one of the most diverse and talented rosters in this scene. So go on and fling yourself into the deep end with DROWND…you won’t regret it!