Artist: Drag the Lake
Album: I Am Violence [EP]
Have you ever wondered what a soundtrack to the history of the Human race would sound like? It seems like a stupid question–but mull it over for a second–what compilation of artists and releases could properly sum up the span of thousands upon thousands of years we, as humans, have spent on this planet. The short answer is that there isn’t just one artist or one album for all of it. However, if one were to attempt to pick an album to summarize every moment of violence and depravity our race has been accountable for, Drag the Lake’s I Am Violence is the first to come to mind. Packed to the brim with punishing, demolishing breakdowns and lacerating blast beat-packed, riff-laden heaviness, the band’s debut EP is a veritable juggernaut.
I Am Violence–like many human conflicts–is best described as a collection of short spats of intense destruction. Each track hits like an individual blow–be it the explosive beginning to be found in “Claymore” or the slow, dissonant burn that is the EP’s title track. “Claymore” kicks off with a fast-past blast which incessantly attacks the listener with demoralizing breakdowns and hate-filled lyrics. Each track follows a similar strategy with a rollicking, explosive beginning–while “Claymore” keeps on rolling without slowing down, “I Am Violence” sees Drag the Lake experiment with a sludgier, more dissonant tone which slowly suffocates the listener in lachrymating heaviness as opposed to bashing their brains in with blunt force trauma.
Instrumentally, Drag the Lake bring hate-filled, misanthropic mosh anthems with a technical and musically proficient twist. While “Claymore” is a more straight-forward assault on the listener, “Deathrow” has a gyrating, dissonant groove with gallop, fill-laden drumming buried deep beneath it. While there isn’t an enormous amount of shredding or high-fretted noodling, the incredible variety of slamming, crushing brutality and grinding, gnashing grooves keep the guitars from getting monotonous or boring. As if that weren’t enough, the drums are incredible throughout the entire EP–featuring rolling, tumultuous poly-fills and break-neck double bass and blast beats, I Am Violence has all the trademark elements of deathcore drumming with an attitude that will not quit, no matter how broken, battered and bloodied the listener gets.
I Am Violence resembles a conglomerate of human depravity in just about all of it’s forms. Sadly, this means that no matter how accurately it displays acts of ravenous hate and devastating misanthropy, it still has it’s slight flaws. While these flaws are neither vocal, nor instrumental, nor lyrical, they lie in the EP’s length–or lack thereof. To be blunt, the only issue for Drag the Lake and their debut EP is that it ends. While it delivers a tactile, punctual lesson in non-stop brutality, it is a little short-winded seems to come and go too briefly. This isn’t all bad, however, as it definitely prevents the onset of monotony, and, it is only an EP after all. However, all things considered, while I Am Violence is enjoyable from start to finish, that doesn’t leave much material to actually be enjoyable in the first place.
War. Famine. Pestilence. Destruction. Rape. Murder. All of these acts compile into the insufferable reality that is living on Earth in this day and age. These–and more–serve as all the volatile, chaotic fuel that Canadian deathcore act Drag the Lake need for their EP I Am Violence, however, as each moment is so incredibly dense with hatred and cruelty that the listener doesn’t know whether to be more shocked by the misanthropy pouring into their ears, or how much they enjoy it.
For Fans of: Pledge This!, Oceano, Fit For An Autopsy, In Reference to a Sinking Ship, Bermuda.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism