REVIEW: Degrader – Degrader [EP/2015]


Artist: Degrader 

Album: Degrader – EP


From day one, everyone in the world has worked tirelessly to keep you from achieving your true potential. Every compliment to boost your self-esteem has come with two insults to knock you back down. Every offer of generosity life has afforded you simply presented more opportunities for the scum of the earth to rob you of joy and happiness. Since the first time you’ve opened your mouth, the world has had nothing but dirt to drive down your throat—but at least it has given you a story to tell. This story is akin to the raunchy, manic aggression found within the debut EP by Massachusetts misanthropes, Degrader. A lesson in anger and angst both, Degrader’s self-titled offering wrenches open the listener’s jaw and forces more than fifteen minutes of filth and fury down their throat, poisoning their mind and muddling their senses, living up to their name and leaving them thoroughly Degraded. 

Degrader’s debut release is a solid, sturdy hardcore offering coated in a lustrous sheen of sinister nu-metal. Using low, lurid down-tuned guitars and booming percussion as a foundation against which to contrast sharp, jagged harmonics and high-strung riffs both, Degrader take a tried and true instrumental dynamic and give it a much needed twist. At Degrader’s core there is percussionist Josh Kuhn—the band’s ferociously pumping heart. His quick footwork and lightning-like fills provide a fluid foundation for both spine-snapping breakdowns and thrashy, abrasive moments of nu-metal murder. “Overdose” is an excellent example—with Kuhn’s crushing candor serving as a jackhammer, pummeling bassist Peter Cashman’s grotesque grooves into the listener’s brain. If Kuhn’s kick drum is a 50-pound sledge, then Cashman’s low, throbbing bass is a 10-inch railroad tie, and together, the duo work with savage efficacy. The climactic breakdown in “Overdose,” as well as the rambunctious introduction to “Revive Evolve” exemplify this. While Kuhn lays down bouncy drum patterns galore, guitarists Liam Geary and Gerry Ahern swing away like wrecking balls coated in flubber. “Revive Evolve” is an excellent example—as are the groove-tinted breakdowns laced throughout “Zero” and “Dead Presidents.” The duo are able to excellently combine heavy, hectic guitar tones with bouncy, energetic playing to let loose with groovy heaviness that would make A Memoria Brooded proud. Whether it’s Cashman’s creative mini-solos in “Overdose” or the all-out carnage on “The Void,” this quintet are adept at showcasing their innate ability to combine groove, bounce and bone-breaking brutality.

While Degrader’s instrumentation is driving and energetic to the very last chug, their vocal element is where the band truly excel. Frontman Corey Mileski—aided at times by Geary and Ahern—is a multifaceted vocalist who can slice the listener with sharp, polished screams or rip and tear with grisly, guttural lows. “Zero” may be Mileski’s most varied and vicious effort—while the half-sung cleans assisting him on “Overdose” excellently amplify the haunting, eerie atmosphere of the song. “Dead Presidents” sees Mileski borrowing a couple moves from Gift Giver’s playlist, adding smooth, buttery flow to the mix that lets his filthy vocals slide into the listener’s bloodstream as if they were introduced by an IV. Mileski’s combination of aggressive lyrics and energetic vocal delivery do incredibly justice to even the more generic, cut-and-paste moments of Degrader’s debut EP, making it a well-rounded and comprehensively entertaining effort.

Degrader might not be a game-changing band—they don’t reinvent the wheel by any stretch—but what they do, they do exceptionally well. Their debut EP is just as heavy as it is catchy—which is saying something, because “Overdose” is more infectious than herpes. Geary and Ahren are able to be beratingly heavy and belligerently aggressive one moment, but atmospheric and ethereal the next—take their work on “Dead Presidents” as proof. Meanwhile, frontman Mileskireigns with a varied vocal arsenal that saves the band from stumbling over shallow pitfalls of monotony. So, true, Degrader follow in the wake of artists like Sylar and Gift Giver to hone their nu-heavy blades, they do it just as well, living up to their influences and giving the listener something quick, catchy and crushing to rule their headphones.

If you’ve been tread on your whole life, shit on by the world and everyone in it, pick up Degrader’s debut release and turn it up. Inside you’ll find lyrics spewing hate at anything within an arm’s reach—including yourself—and energetic, eviscerating heaviness to quench your thirst for chugs for days—even if it does so by shoving your skull face-down into a pile of filth.



For Fans Of: Sylar, Gift Giver, Sworn In, Noose

By: Connor Welsh