“Stemming from humble DIY beginnings, Drain built up their scene alongside friends who would go on to form bands like Scowl, Gulch, and Sunami and in the process of paving the way for hardcore to thrive in their beach town of Santa Cruz, CA, they’ve cemented a legacy that transcends their California roots.” The small excerpt quoted there was from the email that I received in preparation for this review, and while this excerpt feels like it says it all, I can’t help but feel the need to point out how similar these dudes started their journey to so many of my hometown local bands here in Alaska, and feel like I can say something worthwhile about them!
The first track of the album, “Run Your Luck”, gives me Godsmack vibes. They give off a unique rock sound, bringing in multiple styles of guitar riffs to their songs. I’m loving that in one song, I can get Godsmack, then the next I get Metallica vibes that slide back and forth with Suicidal Tendencies-like riffs and vocals. It’s a band that absolutely keeps you on your toes when it comes to the song’s dynamics. Drain genuinely reminds me of a few of the bands I went to see at our only all-ages venue here in Anchorage, Alaska, called Anchorage Community Works (at the time it was the only all-ages venue and it has since closed down). Not just in the way they came out of the woodwork, but also when it came down to the vibe. When I was introduced to this scene in 2014-2015, 85% of the bands that I saw, or that opened for the larger names, had a similar sound and intensity to their performances as Drain gives in this album. “Evil Finds Light” and “Imposter” both have equally in-your-face vocals that bring me back to my freshman year of high school at my first show and I truly appreciate how it sort of just slams into your ears without warning, much like those bands at Anchorage Community Works did at my first show.
“Intermission” features Shakewell and hits a different sound entirely. Throwing in an artist like him out of left field and mixing the rap/rock genres had me thrown into the back of my seat in shock, just to hear the callout to Drain and the breakdown, and headbang like it was my first metal show. It was a pleasant surprise, but might be an even more of an acquired taste when speaking in terms of the metal/rock community. Having “Intermission” followed by “Weight of the World” and “Watch You Burn”, which both throw us back to the sound of Suicidal Tendencies, is a cool transition that just seems to work well with the flow of this album. “Watch You Burn” has an ending that has you headbanging so hard, I couldn’t imagine anyone’s hair that’s in a basic bun or ponytail staying in, the chug in it is just too good to not give it all you got each beat.
“Good Good Things” changes the pace almost as much as “Intermission”, but in an entirely different direction. It goes to the softer side of the rock scale and has a sound that throws me back to middle and high school when I listened to Type-O Negative and Sick Puppies. The song has a sort of comfort sound, personally, and I love that it gives the listener a small break from the intense vocals that are forefront and in your face in the majority of the others!
Last, but absolutely not least, we have the title track for Living Proof. This track brings it in hard with everybody’s favorite instrument… THE COWBELL. With a very Metallica-esque intro and the cowbell assist, it gave the title track its own unique spin that would absolutely make it easily distinguishable as its title track. I personally love when the title track is distinguishable in albums and the way this one progresses as the album comes to its end, I can honestly say, I personally have never heard a band or artist fade an album out the way they did and I am HERE for it.
Killer job on this album, Drain. I generally think that to some, this album may be a bit of an acquired taste. Despite the fact I feel the technique is pulled off beautifully with the slow, chugging moments in the guitar that will unexpectedly pick up and give a perfect segway for the vocals to come tearing in. This album has a seriously cool dynamic. With the few songs that just come out of left field and transport the listener to an entirely different genre, to the style switches and how smooth they all are, it makes me excited to see the growth of this band and see if they bring any other styles into their music discography.
Living Proof is out now and available on Spotify and Bandcamp!